Following in the wake of progress forged by nicotine chewing gum, a new generation of nicotine replacement products will soon be available as aids to giving up smoking. These range from nicotine skin patches, which take 6-8 hrs to give very flat steady-state peak blood levels, to nicotine vapour inhalers which mimic the transient high-nicotine boli that follow within a few seconds of each inhaled puff of cigarette smoke. Other products undergoing clinical trials include a nasal nicotine spray and nicotine lozenges. It is argued here that it is not so much the efficacy of new nicotine delivery systems as temporary aids to cessation, but their potential as long-term alternatives to tobacco that makes the virtual elimination of tobacco a realistic future target. Their relative safety compared with tobacco is discussed. A case is advanced for selected nicotine replacement products to be made as palatable and acceptable as possible and actively promoted on the open market to enable them to compete with tobacco products. They will also need health authority endorsement, tax advantages and support from the anti-smoking movement if tobacco use is to be gradually phased out altogether.