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BRIEFLY

Health

February 10, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

FDA Approves Nonprescription Anti-Smoking Aid: The agency approved over-the-counter sales of a gum laced with nicotine to help smokers kick the habit. Nicorette, which helps relieve withdrawal symptoms by providing an alternative source of nicotine without the tar and carbon monoxide of cigarette smoke, has been available by prescription for 11 years. The gum is the first Food and Drug Administration-approved smoke-quitting aid available without a prescription. Pittsburgh-based manufacturer SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare said it would be available in April. Sale of the gum would be restricted to consumers 18 and older. In September, an advisory panel unanimously recommended that the FDA drop its prescription requirement for Nicorette. Nicorette is sold in 50 countries. U.S. prescription sales produce revenue of about $250 million a year, SmithKline Beecham said.

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