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Am J Public Health. 2005 Jun;95(6):1050-5.

Use of pharmacy data to evaluate smoking regulations' impact on sales of nicotine replacement therapies in New York City.

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  • 1Bureau of Epidemiology Services, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 125 Worth St, Room 315, CN-6, New York, NY 10013, USA.



Recently, New York City and New York State increased cigarette excise taxes and New York City implemented a smoke-free workplace law. To assess the impact of these policies on smoking cessation in New York City, we examined over-the-counter sales of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products.


Pharmacy sales data were collected in real time as part of nontraditional surveillance activities. We used Poisson generalized estimating equations to analyze the effect of smoking-related policies on pharmacy-specific weekly sales of nicotine patches and gum. We assessed effect modification by pharmacy location.


We observed increases in NRT product sales during the weeks of the cigarette tax increases and the smoke-free workplace law. Pharmacies in low-income areas generally had larger and more persistent increases in response to tax increases than those in higher-income areas.


Real-time monitoring of existing nontraditional surveillance data, such as pharmacy sales of NRT products, can help assess the effects of public policies on cessation attempts. Cigarette tax increases and smoke-free workplace regulations were associated with increased smoking cessation attempts in New York City, particularly in low-income areas.

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