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Cigarette company Reynolds taking nicotine gum national

Reynolds American is challenging the pharmaceutical industry’s hold on stop-smoking products with Zonnic.
Reynolds American is challenging the pharmaceutical industry’s hold on stop-smoking products with Zonnic.(Reynolds American via Associated Press)

RICHMOND — Reynolds American Inc. is taking its Zonnic brand nicotine gum nationwide, challenging the pharmaceutical industry’s hold on the market for stop-smoking products.

The second-largest US tobacco company announced the plan Thursday, following tests in Iowa and Nebraska over the last two years after its 2009 purchase of the Swedish company Niconovum AB, which makes nicotine gum, pouches, and spray products.

More than 42 million US adults smoke cigarettes, and about half try to quit every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

The company is offering Zonnic in a smaller package and at a lower price than what’s typically available — and more in line with the cost of a pack of cigarettes.

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Zonnic is being sold in packages of 10 pieces in two nicotine strengths for about $3.70 per pack, compared with the national average price for premium cigarettes of $5.80 for a pack of 20.

Other nicotine gums that are sold in packs of a minimum of 20 pieces for about $10 and are offered in packages of up to 300 pieces.

‘‘We want to invite people who have made the decision they want to quit to find the best solution for them to achieve that goal,’’ said Tommy Payne, of Niconovum USA.

Associated Press