Nicotine Gum: A Complete Guide 2018-11-08T11:20:49+00:00

Nicotine Gum: A Complete Guide

Chewing gum is a fun pastime and distraction for many people, so researchers got the idea that it could work as a replacement for smoking. Many people chew gum when they are trying to quit smoking because it provides oral gratification similar to a smoking habit. In the 1980s, gum that contains nicotine was introduced and offered by prescription as a method to help people quit smoking.

nicotine gum

What is Nicotine Gum

Nicotine gum is a form of smoking cessation aid, which means it is intended to help people stop smoking. It generally works by replacing the nicotine that smokers usually get through tobacco products. Users normally gradually reduce their nicotine dosage until they no longer have cravings for it, or at least until the most bothersome nicotine withdrawal symptoms subside or lessen in severity.

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The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can be quite uncomfortable which is why a Nicotine Replacement Therapy like chewing gum is recommended.

Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • weight gain

Nicotine gum is a very hard gum that is packaged in individual foil packed containers. The gum contains either 2 or 4 mg of nicotine in each piece, which is approximately equal to the amount of nicotine in 1 to 2 cigarettes. Smokers who need to have their first cigarette within the first 30 minutes after waking up should start with the 4 mg dose of nicotine gum, while those who can wait 30 minutes or more after waking for a first cigarette can usually get by with the 2 mg dose.

The gum is chewed at least 15 minutes after eating or drinking. You chew the gum until it softens up and begins to get a peppery taste and tingling sensation. At that point, you are supposed to put the piece between your gums and cheek and leave it in place. When the gum starts to lose the tingling sensation, you can chew it again until that feeling comes back. You can repeat this cycle as many times as necessary for up to 30 minutes. The body can absorb the nicotine into the bloodstream after being held in place next to the cheek. Slightly less than the full amount of nicotine in each piece of gum is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Smokers can use nicotine gum as much as once an hour, up to a total of 24 pieces per day. In general, you should step down the dosage of nicotine gum by spacing out the intervals between pieces by an increasing number of hours over a period of several weeks. Nicotine gum is not considered safe for more than 12 weeks of use or by pregnant women.

Nicotine exposure of the levels seen in nicotine chewing gum can cause some serious problems for the unborn child that can follow him throughout his life.

Prescription Medicine

nicotine gum package

Nicotine gum was initially introduced to the market as a prescription medication called Nicorette. This was the first pharmaceutical option to help with quitting smoking, and its development started as early as the late 1960s. The product was then available in some countries in 1978 and the U.S. shortly after. It was available by prescription only for many years, including in an eventual generic version, but then it was made available over the counter without a prescription.

Other nicotine replacement products that were similarly once available only by prescription but which are now available over the counter include nicotine lozenges (available in generic and under the brand name Commit) and nicotine inhalers.

Industry-funded studies showed that the use of nicotine replacement products such as nicotine gum could reduce the cravings for a cigarette for up to 24 hours, although some other independent studies showed that people needed additional support systems in addition to using nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking successfully.

Nicotine Gum: Side Effects

Nicotine gum may be fun to chew, but it is still a medication that was once available only by prescription. As such, it can have many potential side effects. Fortunately, although you cannot eliminate the possibility of side effects, they can be minimized by careful use of the medication. Chewing nicotine gum too fast or “chain chewing” – having one piece immediately after another – can dramatically increase the risk of side effects. However, by avoiding these actions, you may not experience as many side effects.

Some of the most common side effects associated with nicotine gum include the following:

  • Mouth, jaw or tooth discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid or pounding heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash
  • Blisters or sores in the mouth

Success Rates

The success rates for using nicotine gum is dependent on the study, which are mixed. However, according to The Chart, “The perception of the public using the product is that these are good forever – that these will result in you not smoking in three, five, 10 years. Well, they were never designed to do that. They were designed to treat withdrawal, which is a symptom that occurs from stopping to probably six months, and then it usually ends.”

The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal pose the greatest risk to success during the early stages of quitting smoking. Avoid drinking coffee, soda, beer or other acidic beverages while using the nicotine gum as it interferes with the absorption of the nicotine.

Long-Term Health Risks

Because nicotine gum and other nicotine replacement products are medications, they can have serious effects. The most serious risk from using nicotine replacement products is an accidental overdose or nicotine poisoning. When this happens, it most often does so because people are doubling up and using nicotine replacement medication while also continuing to smoke. Nicotine replacement products are intended only to be used alone and to provide a substitute for the addiction to nicotine. Symptoms of nicotine overdose or poisoning include respiratory distress, seizures, and even death. Children are also at risk of nicotine poisoning if they find nicotine gum, particularly because of its similarity to other non-toxic forms of gum.

Even normal use of nicotine gum per the package directions can cause some health risks. Long-term use of nicotine gum can cause muscle weakness in the throat and lead to chronic hiccups, a feeling like your throat is closing and irritation. Nicotine in any form can also lead to a greater risk of heart disease and may contribute to throat, mouth and esophageal cancers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and stroke.

Women who are pregnant should not use nicotine gum because it may cause an increased risk of congenital disabilities, particularly if you were to use it within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Pregnant women should ask their doctors about safer methods to help quit smoking.

Nicotine gum can be an effective tool in your total arsenal of options to help you quit smoking. However, it is very important to follow the instructions about how to use these powerful medications properly to make sure you use it safely and appropriately.

Summing It Up

Nicotine gum seems great at first, you can get the nicotine without the terrible things involved with cigarettes. However, then your gums start to recede, your breath smells bad all the time, and you have very strange digestive issues. It is certainly a possibility if you plan to do the actual weaning off program, but if you just switch addictions than it could cause health problems in the future.

Nicotine chewing gum shouldn’t be used longer than 12 weeks or so, which can be difficult for some as they may become addicted to the gum. Some alternatives that we would certainly recommend are the Nicotine Patch and vapor cigarettes. These are the nicotine replacement therapy products with the least risk and the highest success rate. Good luck!

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Posted by
Jeffrey Buckley

I was a smoker for over 25 years. In this time I also earned my medical degree with a specialization in addiction treatment and counseling. That period has led me to vaping, my interest started around 2011. I’m fighting the tide of hysteria and dis-information around vaping that emanates from various fronts legislative, cultural and scientific. Having scientific councils support, I’m happy to contribute my thoughts, articles, and expertise.

46 Comments
  1. comment-avatar

    kashif ahmad

    October 17, 2017 at 8:35 am Reply

    Where Can I Find It In Karachi, Pakistan?

  2. comment-avatar

    rakesh pradhan

    October 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm Reply

    Thanks

  3. comment-avatar

    Brady Hall

    November 7, 2017 at 8:07 pm Reply

    I am 64 and have never smoked. I started to chew Nicorette, 12 mg daily, and now have more energy

  4. comment-avatar

    Fred Phelps

    November 15, 2017 at 6:33 pm Reply

    I’m sure vaping daily is providing an objective look on this one lmao

  5. comment-avatar

    Debra

    December 16, 2017 at 5:36 am Reply

    Are you saying that vapor cigarettes are a lesser risk than nicotine gum?

    • comment-avatar

      Jeff

      July 5, 2018 at 6:42 pm Reply

      No new study just came out, they are now worse than reg cigarettes

  6. comment-avatar

    Paul

    January 5, 2018 at 7:25 am Reply

    I’ve been on the Gum ( 4mg ) 10 peaces plus a day for over 6 years and cat get off the stuff. At times I feel like just giving up on life.

    • comment-avatar

      Smokefree

      February 20, 2018 at 10:12 am Reply

      @Paul – its better than smoking, and maybe drop to 2 mg to see if you notice the difference. If not – sick with two for a bit then wean off them – you can do it! Plus – please don’t give up on my life my friend. There are people that love and care about you whether they show you or not. I have learned this recently after feeling that low myself. – im so glad i survived! you will be too i promise!

    • comment-avatar

      Brian

      March 1, 2018 at 7:24 pm Reply

      Would probably be a good start if you spelled pieces correctly. Other then that just kill yourself.

      • comment-avatar

        Brandon

        March 12, 2018 at 1:20 pm Reply

        *Other than

      • comment-avatar

        Megan

        March 19, 2018 at 7:37 pm Reply

        *than

      • comment-avatar

        Willow

        May 18, 2018 at 11:21 pm Reply

        *than

        • comment-avatar

          Helena

          August 22, 2018 at 7:39 pm Reply

          Lol was thinking the same thing 😂

      • comment-avatar

        Missy uneek

        May 20, 2018 at 12:52 am Reply

        What the what! Why did you even comment? Spelling is not the topic.

      • comment-avatar

        Missy uneek

        May 20, 2018 at 1:30 am Reply

        What the what! Why did you even comment? Spelling is not the topic. (For previous comment)
        I use the lozenges and I was able to immediately completely stop smoking – about a pack a day. I recommend avoiding being around people smoking for at least a week if possible. If not, use that time to do something to avoid the smokers. Like take a bathroom break (even just to wash your hands). Make popcorn which munching on keeps your mouth busy.ust think of something to do to while they’re smoking. Ask people you know to cooperate as much as they can.
        Don’t let other smokers undermine your efforts. Some people will resent your stopping. Get rid of ashtrays and don’t carry a lighter.
        It sounds corny but put dollars in a jar equal to what you were spending. I was able to go horseback riding with 6 days of saving! Then I let it build up more and bought my son great shoes he wanted. The second month I went to a nice hotel with water park. Treating yourself and/or others using the money you saved will be great incentive.
        I’m at 10 months smoke free. My clothes and apartment don’t stink of smoke. I’m enjoying the treats from money saved, and I lost that feeling of being a criminal – meant with humor but you probably know what I mean. I feel proud of myself and my kids are proud of me too.
        There is no downside to quiting.It does get easier every day. Good luck.

      • comment-avatar

        Bob

        May 20, 2018 at 8:29 pm Reply

        Than*

      • comment-avatar

        Jared

        June 4, 2018 at 3:17 am Reply

        Brian, how about learning how to spell properly before giving others crap about spelling. Now move on with your miserable life

      • comment-avatar

        Cathy

        August 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm Reply

        What a horrible thing to say to someon

      • comment-avatar

        Misty

        September 19, 2018 at 4:20 pm Reply

        Are you demented? Why tell someone to end their life over spelling. It was probably an auto correct.

    • comment-avatar

      anne

      June 19, 2018 at 9:25 am Reply

      try the 6mg, they helped me

  7. comment-avatar

    jeff

    February 20, 2018 at 3:39 pm Reply

    cool

  8. comment-avatar

    Diane

    February 27, 2018 at 8:50 am Reply

    Iv been on 2mg for round14 years lately it’s not helping and iv gone up to the 4 mg and going through 2 to 3 cards a day stress level very intense at present I would love to get off it but have increased amount using and strength need help

  9. comment-avatar

    santanu

    March 13, 2018 at 9:50 am Reply

    one pkt=10 but how much cost

  10. comment-avatar

    a well wisher 23

    March 21, 2018 at 5:37 am Reply

    it is good and refreshing for some time and after that it becomes another addiction. pls chew 2 a day ……good luck

  11. comment-avatar

    TheJoker

    March 28, 2018 at 12:12 pm Reply

    It really helped quit smoking with 15days.

  12. comment-avatar

    Tony

    April 1, 2018 at 4:35 pm Reply

    Hi,
    Thanks for this article. It’s very informative.
    Can someone tell me if 1 chewing gum with 2mg of nicotine per day a safe dosage for someone who never smoked.
    I have a depression and am doing well on stimulants so I would use Nicorette three to four days per week.
    Thanks.

  13. comment-avatar

    smithy

    April 4, 2018 at 2:57 am Reply

    I was addicted to the nicotine gum for about 6-7 years. I am now going cold turkey and close to 72 hours in. I feel much better already and I am just taking normal chewing gum.

    My blood pressure got really high and I am pretty sure it was down to the NRT. Now that I have stopped, last 2 days my BP has been perfect. So do keep an eye on your BP….

  14. comment-avatar

    Tony

    April 4, 2018 at 3:20 pm Reply

    Hi,
    Thanks for this article. It’s very informative.
    Can someone tell me if 1 chewing gum with 2mg of nicotine per day a safe dosage for someone who never smoked.
    I have a depression and am doing well on stimulants so I would use Nicorette three to four days per week.
    Thanks.

  15. comment-avatar

    Dee Mazzei

    April 12, 2018 at 7:30 pm Reply

    I’ve been on the 4 mg Nicolette since 1994 it is now 2018. I will probably do this until I die.. Have never had any side effects whatsoever and Nicorette saved my life. I was three packs a day for 30 years and a chain smoker. I admit that I am addicted, but again, Nicorette will not kill me like the cigarettes would have. For me, it is a godsend. I am now 70 and in excellent health.

  16. comment-avatar

    Susan

    May 2, 2018 at 5:21 am Reply

    Anybody else have chest pains along with that irregular and/or pounding heart? Brian, that was incredibly cruel.

  17. comment-avatar

    Craig

    May 19, 2018 at 11:47 am Reply

    Hello I have been on both vapor and gum 4 MG’s I enjoy both my friend smokes so I say yes occasionally my neighbour said I could get nicotine poisoning please I need your help thank you

  18. comment-avatar

    viv

    May 27, 2018 at 11:17 pm Reply

    Today is my second day with the Nicotine gum. Want to get rid of the habit of smoking. Please do wish me luck.

    • comment-avatar

      Vigier

      June 24, 2018 at 4:25 am Reply

      I wish you luck, but you do not need it if dedicated to quit, and the second: you MUST not overuse gums, you must plan daily to reduce number of chewed gums

  19. comment-avatar

    gerry

    June 2, 2018 at 10:01 am Reply

    try hypnosis

  20. comment-avatar

    Jay

    June 3, 2018 at 8:09 pm Reply

    Craig, yes be careful. You are not supposed to use gum and vapor and smoke cigarettes all in the same day or week. Not good buddy. Try to just vape if that’s what you like doing the most or if that’s what works best for you.

  21. comment-avatar

    ssb

    June 17, 2018 at 12:05 am Reply

    I started with 2 mg 12 to 16 gums. Cut down to 3 by 25th day. I will totally stop the gum by 40th day. Wish me luck

  22. comment-avatar

    Sunny Sunday

    June 21, 2018 at 7:51 am Reply

    I don’t even know the one that have the higher risk hmmm

  23. comment-avatar

    Blondie

    June 25, 2018 at 9:35 am Reply

    Have been a lifetime smoker and on my 10th day of smoke free using 4mg of gum
    Amazing thing is I don’t have any cravings so may soon go down to 2mg
    Stopped before but sadly for only 2 months
    Hoping this time it’s for good
    Last thing I want to happen is to become addicted to the gum
    So I guess next step i guess is to reduce dosage and amount
    In the 10th day (today) I have saved £90 already
    Crazy!!
    Have also downloaded an app to help

  24. comment-avatar

    Julie Persaud

    July 22, 2018 at 1:43 pm Reply

    I successfully quit smoking 6 years ago alternating from the nicotine patch, and 2 mg gum .
    I can’t get off the gum arrrg.
    I chew it constantly

    • comment-avatar

      Geneen

      August 20, 2018 at 3:36 am Reply

      I think cold turkey for the gum, i have chewed 2mg ever increasing for over 3 years,day 4 today with no gum,you just need a will to be free of it. Good luck 😉

  25. comment-avatar

    Shawn

    July 24, 2018 at 9:00 pm Reply

    Anyone experience neck pain from Nicorettes? I’ve been on it for about 20 years now, and have been having neck pain for about 15 years. Or do anyone think it could be from an old sports injury.

    • comment-avatar

      Pathetic

      August 1, 2018 at 4:30 am Reply

      Maybe just grow a pair and stop chewing the gum?

  26. comment-avatar

    Anonymous

    August 6, 2018 at 1:58 am Reply

    Hi I m smoking from more than 3 year 10 to 12 cigarette per day.
    Now I m suffering from lung cancer
    Please quit smoking as soon as possible fir your own good..

  27. comment-avatar

    Khushdeep

    August 12, 2018 at 12:12 am Reply

    Hi m starting the gums today 4mg hope i ll make it thru buh a bit scared as the ppl keep saying that u might get addicted to ’em…i dnt hv any intention to do so…wish me luck…..gona need a lot of it🙋🏻‍♂️

  28. comment-avatar

    Hareesh

    September 22, 2018 at 11:11 am Reply

    I have become a non-smoker since 1st of September 2018, By using nicotex 2 mg / around 24 piece a day as of now.
    Was a heavy smoker last 20 years with an average of 30 cigarettes per day.
    Hope I am on the right track
    Please advise

  29. comment-avatar

    Mary Joe

    November 2, 2018 at 1:47 pm Reply

    Hello, I’ve been a pack a day for 30+ years. Had a heart attack Oct. 3rd 2018 and stopped smoking cold turkey. Was ready to JUMP off my roof after 1 wk cold turkey. Started the Gum (2mg) 3/day. Wake up, after lunch, and after dinner now I’m Sane again. It works just add in some strong minty gum (if you smoked menthol) in between and take it 1 day @ a time. Good Luck my fellow non-smokers!

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