Today, via this article in French magazine Challenge, we see exactly why they're so scared.
The market for nicotine replacement lost 7% in 2013. The rise of the electronic cigarette, increasingly used as a method to quit smoking, is the cause.
Since the rapid expansion of electronic cigarettes, sales of patches, gums and lozenges are plummeting in France as in other European countries. "This decline has been evident since the beginning of September," says Sophie Ragot, Marketing Manager OTC and dermatology for GlaxoSmithklineBeecham, the company that markets Niquitin products.
According to the latest figures, the market for nicotine replacement therapy in France has fallen by 6.6% in 2013 to under 100 million euros of turnover (99.2 million to be exact) for the first time since 2010. "If we look at only the last quarter, the figures are even worse. Declining by 17% and even 35% for patches," explains Sophie Ragot.
For laboratories that market nicotine replacement therapy (GSK, Pierre Fabre, Johnson & Johnson), the economic outlook is bleak for the coming year. They predict a double-digit decline in the market for nicotine replacement in 2014, before stagnating in 2015. "The hardest thing is that we still do not know really how to act in relation to this phenomenon. We do not know much about the principles of e-cigarettes," said Sophie Ragot.
At the same time, the use of electronic cigarettes has skyrocketed. According to a recent figures from Collectif des acteurs de la cigarette électronique (CACE), 2 million French vape regularly. This market, which was virtually non-existent in 2009, today accounts for around 100 million euros, equal to the market for nicotine replacement therapy.Article author, Laure-Emmanuelle Husson, also handily provides a graph by way of illustration.
What you see there is NRT being found out. It has always had an appalling success rate - no better than quitting without help - yet tobacco control industry consensus has been pushing it for decades now as a kind of medicinal magic.
E-Cigs have come along and pissed all over this cosy little pharma/prohibitionist symbiotic relationship, showing the world that they've been sold a pup for a very long time, and using hundreds of millions of your tax pounds to do so.
No such public money has been required by e-cigs - in fact, public money has been spent, and continues to be spent, trying to hinder them - yet their uptake is spectacular. And if all that tax-funded activity is performing so very badly - while private companies compete using their own cash to promote the same end but with far better results - then why do we need so many people sponging off of our taxes to advocate it, eh?
Big pharma is scared; the anti-smoking groups they sponsor are scared; and scared people act in a scared and irrational manner ... like I watched them doing on RTÉ yesterday.
As I have always said (e.g here, here, here and here to name but a few), just follow the money and it's easy to see that it's never been about health.