The nicotine patch is an effective aid for smoking cessation. Since 1996, the nicotine patch has been re-classified from prescription to over-the-counter (OTC) status in the United States. Unlike prescription medications, post-marketing surveillance does not exist for OTC medications. The purpose of this study is to describe the characteristics of consumers who purchase OTC nicotine patches from community pharmacies and to determine the factors associated with appropriate use of nicotine patches.
This prospective, cross-sectional, observational study will include a survey of 600 consumers who purchase OTC nicotine patches at a random sample of 30 community retail pharmacies. Consumers will be recruited by an ad located in the pharmacy next to the nicotine patch product. Participants will fill out a self-administered, anonymous questionnaire at the time of OTC nicotine patch purchase at the pharmacy counter. The questionnaire will gather information about demographics, medical history, smoking history, attitudes toward the nicotine patch, and motivation to quit smoking. No study visits will be required for this study.