Smoking cessation for Syrians?

The influx of Syrians to Germany has led many media sources to forecast a huge increase in cigarette sales. Around half of Syrian men smoke (according to the WHO), and with around 800,000 refugees entering the country in 2015, analysts reckon this will push cigarette sales up by 1% in an industry worth over €20bn.

Among discussions of how to physically accommodate the new refugees have been debates over state allowances afforded to them – they receive a monthly allowance of €143 for the first 3 months of entering the country and €300 thereafter. A pack of cigarettes costs well over €5 in Germany. A lot could therefore be gained by OTC marketers offering either free samples of smoking cessation options to Syrians, or starter packs at heavily reduced rates. Beyond saving money and improving respiratory health, even if only for a week or 2, it may also encourage refugees to seek out other health products in local pharmacies.

Some companies are admirably providing assistance to Syrian women and children by providing care packs containing body lotions, moisturising towels and underwear. While many may not consider a pack of nicotine gum or patches to be a truly necessary addition, they could go a long way to helping recipients stop for good, and ultimately save lives.

OTC experts on Germany, Austria and Poland will all be speaking at our 27th European Conference and Action Workshop in Krakow 13-15th April 2016. For more information on how to book at early bird rates, contact