SALES of nicotine patches in the Balearics rose by 88 percent in the first five months of 2006 in comparison to the same period in 2005, to 6'700, while sales of nicotine chewing gum fell by 20 percent. According to sources from the pharmaceutical sector this is evidence of a change in the preferences of people who want to give up smoking when it comes to selecting a product to help them. The sources said that, in fact, some 1'400 people in the Balearics are taking some kind of treatment to stop smoking, which boils down to nicotine chewing gum, patches and the medicine bupropion. This is a decision which more smokers have taken since the national Antitobacco law came into force at the beginning of this year. The tendency towards nicotine patches is explained by the “better guarantee of success” and “more convenience” associated with the use of patches which, once applied to the skin, release the nicotine dose which the user needs. Actually, some 270 people in the islands take this product regularly, 130 more than in 2005.

According to the same sources, the use of patches is “much more professional” and they are recommended by both doctors and chemists in preference to nicotine chewing gum. However, nicotine chewing gum is used regularly by 430 people on the islands, while during the first few months of 2005 500 people used it regularly.
In spite of this, sales of nicotine chewing gum continue to be higher, with 12'000 packets sold between January and May of this year (2'500 less than in 2005) in comparison with the sales of patches (3'100 more sold). Even so, the use of patches is rising and the “significant increase” in sales of nearly 90 percent shows that their higher price, some 30 euros a box, is not an impediment “when their effectiveness is higher”. On the other hand, within the group of products prescribed in Nicotine Substitute Therapies (TSN), there is the one which is a medicine, bupropion, which during the first five months of 2006 had a “minimal” fall in sales, going from 2'570 units in 2005 to 2'280 in 2006, a fall of 1.1 percent.