Ahead of World No Tobacco Day (May 31), Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health’s Carlton Lawson shares how Nicorette is fulfilling its commitment to free both its internal and external stakeholders from tobacco and nicotine.
Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health is focusing on addressing complex, preventable health issues — in particular, eradicating smoking and preventable skin cancers — by collaborating on initiatives both inside and outside the company as part of its Healthy Lives Mission.
In honor of World No Tobacco Day, we asked Carlton Lawson — Company Group Chairman at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health EMEA — about how the company is supporting a tobacco-free workforce, Nicorette®’s donation to the World Health Organization (WHO) and others.
This year’s theme for World No Tobacco Day is ‘Tobacco: Threat to our environment.’ Do you see the environmental cost as an added reason for people to quit smoking?
CL: Yes — at Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, we believe that for people to thrive, we need a healthy planet. This is why we’re accelerating action to protect our environment and address important human health challenges, such as smoking cessation. We are driven by a vision to provide all smokers access to quitting solutions, saving the lives of more smokers every day, while also meticulously caring for the planet we live on through an unwavering focus on sustainability at every level. Nicorette envisions and advocates for a world free from smoking — where both people and the planet have the health to breathe. Our work is to promote healthier employees, healthier people and a healthier planet.
Let’s start with healthier employees. How are you supporting your workforce to give up tobacco?
CL: We aim to inspire our employees and their family members to quit tobacco and nicotine for good. As a consumer health company, we want to have the world’s healthiest workforce. We’re constantly engaging and empowering our employees to make meaningful contributions to sustainability outside the workplace, including incentivizing them and their loved ones to quit smoking, and helping them understand their role in driving change through the Healthy Lives Mission. For example, we are looking into pilots on how we can support our employees in their quit journey in some market across the globe. Johnson & Johnson has also a longstanding Worldwide Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy, which enables a smoke-free working place for all.
How does the company help consumers with smoking cessation?
CL: Nicorette pioneered Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) over 50 years ago and continues to bring innovations to market to support smokers quit currently in 65 countries across the globe. We do that by developing innovative treatment options, engaging with key stakeholders to ensure NRTs remain first-line treatment, and partnering with healthcare systems to promote smoking cessation policies and increase access to treatment and services.
One way is working with partners to ensure that people willing to quit have access to support, including NRTs. Through our partnership with the WHO on the Access Initiative for Quitting Tobacco, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health donated over 675,000 Nicorette Invisipatch quit-smoking patches — worth over 1.7 million USD in retail value — to help support 10,000 people in Jordan and the Philippines to quit smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
How is support for smoking cessation changing with scientific advances and new technology?
CL: We are leveraging over 50 years of research and development, over 200 clinical studies and 40 years of commercial expertise — in partnership with behavioural scientists — to create stop-smoking solutions that are grounded in science, clinically proven and employ behavioral-change techniques to create new quit-support programmes.
In 2020, we brought the world’s first connected, over-the-counter medicine. Nicorette QuickMist SmartTrack™ links our fast, craving-relief spray to a behavioral support app that allows consumers to create a tailored quit plan, track NRT usage and days smoke free, and seek advice to help them quit smoking, for good.
Back to this year’s environmental theme for World No Tobacco Day, how are you ensuring that the production of NRTs doesn’t negatively impact the environment?
CL: We are committed to safeguarding the environment by developing more sustainable products and packaging and reducing our use of plastic, as well as our carbon footprint. We are removing unnecessary packaging, reducing our use of problematic plastics, and encouraging recycling through clear pack instructions. Throughout 2022, all our Nicorette consumer cartons will be sourced from sustainably managed forests.
Our Nicorette manufacturing facility in Helsingborg, Sweden is Johnson & Johnson’s first carbon-neutral facility, a status achieved and accredited in 2017 and renewed in 2021. In 2021, the manufacturing facility was also recognized by joining the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network, which recognizes manufacturing plants using technologies to transform factories, value chains and business models.
How was the Helsingborg manufacturing facility able to achieve carbon neutrality?
CL: This was achieved by a number of measures — including reducing energy consumption via investment in more efficient technology and using excess heat from other manufacturing sites in the area to heat our plant. We’ve reduced natural gas consumption, with the remaining small amount of natural gas utilized being replaced with biogas.
To reduce food waste, leftover food from the Helsingborg restaurant is frozen and sold to employees at a discount price; and scrapped food and peelings are sent to the local plant to make biogas. Also, all internal transport between the two sites in Helsingborg occurs with hybrid or electric cars. The site has been recognized by the City of Helsingborg as the most bicycle-friendly company.
What’s next for Nicorette?
CL: Nicorette has been helping smokers quit for over 40 years, and we are committed to bringing the right solutions to market that enable that well into the future. Nicorette has a comprehensive pipeline of quit solutions in development that leverages the best clinical and behavioral science, digital health, external partnership and sustainable practice that will ensure we can continue to support quitters on their journey to free themselves from tobacco and nicotine.