Anti-Smoking Pill Approved in Europe

Pfizer Inc. said Friday that the European Commission has approved anti-smoking pill Champix.

Champix will be available with a patient support plan which smokers can customize to address their individual behavioral triggers as they try to quit smoking.

Champix is believed to work by reducing the severity of the smoker's urge to smoke and alleviating many withdrawal symptoms from nicotine. In addition, if a person smokes a cigarette while receiving treatment, the medicine has the potential to diminish the satisfaction associated with smoking.

In Europe alone, more than 1.2 million people die each year from smoking-related diseases. By 2010, the World Health Organization predicts the annual global cost of tobacco-related illness will be about $500 billion, with Europe accounting for up to $165 billion of this sum.

The medication, varenicline, received Food and Drug Administration approval as an aid to quitting smoking in May, under the tradename Chantix.