Taisho Pharmaceutical's Anti-Smoking Patch

There is a news item that Taisho Pharmaceutical is going to start selling a nonprescription anti-smoking patch. In the past smoking patches were prescription only. Why? Doesn't that sound overly restrictive? Maybe and that is not an area I have experience with, but sometimes there is more to the story.

It is very possible that in the past both makers and consumers liked the situation because prescribed drugs or devices are usually covered by health insurance. In this case, the government and/or makers are betting that usage will increase if the patches are sold over the counter.