Prescribing of nicotine replacement therapy to adolescents in England

Addiction. 2011 Aug;106(8):1513-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03449.x. Epub 2011 Jun 1.


Aims: In November 2005, the indications for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) were broadened in the United Kingdom, making all forms available to 12-17-year-olds. This study aimed to estimate the effects of this change on prescribing of NRT to adolescents in England.

Design: Segmented regression analysis of primary care data on prescribing of nicotine replacement therapy using general additive mixed models.

Setting: A total of 350 general practices in England included in The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a database of UK electronic primary care records.

Participants: All 12-17-year-old patients registered with a THIN practice in England. Measurements Monthly rates of prescribing of NRT per 100 000 12-17-year-old patients registered with a THIN practice between January 2002 and June 2009.

Findings: Prescribing of NRT was highest in 16-17-year-olds and extremely low in 12-13-year-olds, generally fewer than 10 prescriptions per 100 000 adolescents per month. Girls tended to be prescribed NRT more frequently than boys. In 12-17-year-olds rates of prescribing were increasing prior to the broadening of indications, and there was no step change, but the rate of increase was lower, after the indications were broadened.

Conclusions: Recent changes to the marketing licence for nicotine replacement therapy in England to include adolescents appear to have had little or no effect on prescribing practices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • England
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / therapeutic use*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends
  • Regression Analysis
  • Smoking / drug therapy*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices / statistics & numerical data


  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Nicotine