Sales of tampons have dropped by a quarter in the last four years, at the same time that more women are using contraception that stops their monthly cycles. Supermarkets have even reduced the amount of shelf space they devote to tampons, as the number of individual packs sold has fallen by 6 million from 29 million to 23 million, reported The Telegraph. The amount of money spent on tampons fell from £56 million in 2012 to £43 million in 2016, according to the data collected from some of Britain's biggest retailers by Kantar Worldpanel. Pads and liners remain as popular as they were four years ago though, despite the sharp decline in tampon sales. Part of the reason behind the trend could be that women are increasingly using contraception methods that result in shorter, lighter periods, thereby reducing or removing the need to buy tampons. The number of progesterone-only contraceptives handed out by the NHS in England since 2012 has risen by more than 400,000, according to NHS Digital. More women are also using long-term contraception, with the number of women opting for an implant having risen by 4 per cent since 2012, The Telegraph reported. Lauren Feltham, Kantar Worldpanel's strategic insight director, attributed around half of the decline in spend to shoppers shunning tampons completely. Other factors that could explain the trend were the UK's ageing population, as an increasingly number of women have been through the menopause, she said. Tampons have been controversial in recent years because of the "tampon tax", which means they are taxed as "luxury items" rather than essential. Former chancellor George Osborne was unable to remove the tax because of EU rules, but the Treasury agreed to donate the money to women's charity. While this was greeted by many, others including the writer Rose George, argued that it meant: "Women will now fund services that protect them from violence perpetrated almost entirely by men."