New Thrive(TM) stop smoking aids help Canadians "Lose the Smoke. Keep the Fire(TM)"

    -   First clinically proven nicotine replacement therapy lozenge
        available to help Canadians become smoke-free

    -   New bold mint nicotine replacement therapy gum also helps whiten

    -   "Lose the Smoke. Keep the Fire(TM)" campaign empowers smokers to
        become smoke free while maintaining their passion for living

    TORONTO, Sept. 27 /CNW/ - Novartis Consumer Health Canada Inc. introduces
a novel approach to smoking cessation through the combination of unique,
clinically proven nicotine replacement therapy products and powerful messages
designed to help smokers become smoke-free. New Thrive(TM) stop smoking aids
and the "Lose the Smoke. Keep the Fire(TM)" campaign provide the dual benefit
of innovative, effective products, and positive emotional support to help
smokers in their quest to quit.
    Novartis recognizes that smokers want a choice when making the decision
to quit, and is introducing an innovative nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
lozenge as well as a bold mint gum. Thrive mint lozenge, the first nicotine
replacement therapy lozenge to be available in Canada, is a sugar-free lozenge
that offers a discreet alternative to traditional NRT products. The innovative
form allows Thrive lozenges to contain less nicotine while delivering the same
degree of nicotine replacement therapy as Thrive gum. Thrive gum is a coated,
sugar-free nicotine chewing gum with an unexpectedly bold mint taste that also
helps whiten teeth.
    Thrive lozenge and gum double smokers' chances of becoming smoke-free in
as little as 12 weeks. When used as directed, Thrive lozenge and gum are
proven to help ease physical cravings and reduce the desire to smoke. Thrive
products may also be used to temporarily refrain from smoking, for example in
smoke-free areas, airplanes, restaurants or other situations when someone
wishes to avoid smoking.

    Beyond Nicotine Addiction: An Emotional Attachment to Cigarettes

    Traditional anti-smoking campaigns have done a good job of raising
awareness of the health benefits of quitting. But despite smoking bans,
increased cigarette taxes, public health warnings and advice from concerned
family members and friends, more than 4.9 million Canadians over the age of
15, or approximately one in five adults, are smokers, according to the
Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey 2006.
    What is it that keeps people smoking in the face of increasing
anti-smoking legislation and social pressure to quit? A global survey of 2,200
smokers, sponsored by Novartis, revealed that despite being fully aware of the
health implications of smoking, most smokers have a strong emotional
attachment to smoking and view it as a part of their identity(1).
    More than 70 percent of those surveyed perceive smokers as more
adventurous and fun and 60 percent see smokers as more individualistic. In
addition, 70 percent said they wanted an NRT brand that could help them give
up smoking without losing their passion for living.
    Results also revealed that many smokers would like to quit, but have
fears about the quitting process. Respondents cited loss of identity,
lifestyle and social interaction as some of the barriers keeping them from
successfully becoming smoke-free.
    "Most smokers have both a physical and psychological addiction to
smoking," said Professor Mohamed Ben Amar, a specialist in clinical biology
and pharmacology at the University of Montreal and author of Tobacco Prior to
the 21st Century: An Update of What We Know. "This makes quitting a very
difficult task. The use of nicotine replacement therapies, in addition to
support from family and friends, is effective in giving smokers a better
chance of living a smoke-free life when they make the decision to quit."

    A New Approach to Reaching Potential Quitters

    Novartis used these insights to develop a ground-breaking new campaign.
"Lose the Smoke. Keep the Fire" is designed to engage and communicate with
smokers in a language that resonates with them. The goal of the campaign is to
help smokers realize that Thrive will help them give up smoking without losing
their passion for living. The campaign reflects the brand's commitment to
becoming the brand that truly understands smokers.
    "For years, smoking cessation campaigns have relied on hard-hitting facts
about the dangers of smoking. Our research indicates there is an opportunity
to complement these communications with innovative products and new
inspirational messages that smokers can relate to," said Rick Lloyd, General
Manager Novartis Consumer Health Canada Inc. "Thrive delivers both through
proven lozenge and gum products as well as a 'Lose the Smoke. Keep the Fire'
campaign that provides reassurance that smokers can become smoke-free while
maintaining their passion for living."
    According to research, an average smoker makes many quit attempts before
they are successful. These failed attempts can be discouraging. New Thrive
lozenge and gum are clinically proven to double smokers' chances of becoming
smoke-free and the "Lose the Smoke. Keep the Fire" campaign seeks to give
smokers the confidence to try again.
    The "Lose the Smoke. Keep the Fire" campaign includes national
television, print and online advertising as well as a product web site and
in-store materials. The campaign conveys a strong, positive, stop-smoking
message to an audience that is highly individualistic but not used to seeing
themselves addressed in their own language and imagery in media.
    Novartis also helps provide smokers with the emotional support they need
to succeed via a 12-week program, including a user's guide, toll-free
counseling line (1-888-495-3013) and website,
    Novartis currently markets Habitrol(R) in Canada and the U.S.,
Nicotinell(R) in Europe, and adds Thrive to its nicotine replacement therapy


    This release contains certain "forward-looking statements," relating to
the Novartis Group's business, which can be identified by the use of
forward-looking terminology such as "will," "more likely to," "believed to
be," or similar expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding
potential future revenue from Thrive. Such forward-looking statements involve
known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual
results with Thrive to be materially different from any future results,
performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can
be no guarantee that Thrive will reach any particular levels of revenue.
Management's expectations regarding Thrive could be affected by, among other
things, unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation
generally; competition in general; government, industry, and general public
pricing pressures; uncertainties relating to clinical trials, including new
clinical data and additional analysis of existing clinical data; the company's
ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual
property protection; as well as other risks and factors referred to in
Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange
Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or
should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary
materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis
is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does
not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements
contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events
or otherwise.

    About Novartis

    Novartis AG (NYSE:   NVS) is a world leader in offering medicines to
protect health, cure disease and improve well-being. Our goal is to discover,
develop and successfully market innovative products to treat patients, ease
suffering and enhance the quality of life. We are strengthening our
medicine-based portfolio, which is focused on strategic growth platforms in
innovation-driven pharmaceuticals, high-quality and low-cost generics, human
vaccines and leading self-medication OTC brands. Novartis is the only company
with leadership positions in these areas. In 2006, the Group's businesses
achieved net sales of USD 37.0 billion and net income of USD 7.2 billion.
Approximately USD 5.4 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel,
Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 100,000 associates
and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information,
please visit

    (1) Consumer Research (2005). In this global study of 2,200 smokers from
        4 countries, participants completed a questionnaire to determine
        their attitudes and beliefs regarding smoking and smoking cessation.

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts, Naomi Strasser, Aerial
Communications Group, (416) 787-6577 x 21,; Julie Masow,
Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., (973) 503-7663 (direct), (862) 579-8456

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Novartis Consumer Health Canada Inc.

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