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Cigarette company Reynolds taking nicotine gum national

Cigarette company Reynolds taking nicotine gum national

STOP SMOKING: The nation's second-largest tobacco company announced the expansion plans Thursday following test markets in Iowa and Nebraska over the last two years. Photo: Associated Press

MICHAEL FELBERBAUM, AP Tobacco Writer

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. is taking its Zonnic brand nicotine gum nationwide, challenging the pharmaceutical industry’s hold and pricing power of the market for products to help people stop smoking.

The nation’s second-largest tobacco company announced the expansion plans Thursday following test markets in Iowa and Nebraska over the last two years.

In 2009, the maker of Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes and Grizzly smokeless tobacco bought the Swedish company Niconovum AB, which makes nicotine gum, pouches and spray products.

The move comes as tax increases, health concerns, smoking bans and social stigma cut into demand for cigarettes and more smokers try to quit.

According to market researcher Euromonitor International, the U.S. nicotine replacement market accounts for nearly 40 percent of the $2.4 billion in global annual retail sales.

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