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 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.
- What does Nicotine Gum do
- How to Chew Nicotine Gum
- Is There Prescription Nicotine Gum?
- Nicotine Gum Side Effects
- Nicotine Gum Effects
- Long-Term use of 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.
What are the first symptoms of nicotine withdrawal?
The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can be quite uncomfortable which is why a Nicotine Replacement Therapy like chewing gum is recommended.
- 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 the product, while those who can wait 30 minutes or more after waking for a first cigarette can usually get by with the 2 mg dose.
How to Use Nicotine Gum
- 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. Chewing the gum the first time can cause a little dizziness, which can feel like a nicotine buzz.
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 the product as much as once an hour, up to a total of 24 pieces per day. In general, you should step down the dosage of 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.
Nicotine gum was initially introduced to the market as a prescription medication called Nicorette. This was the first pharmaceutical option to help quit smoking, and its development started as early as the late 1960s.
The product was then available in some countries in 1978 and in 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.
Nicotine Replacement Products
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. However, some other independent studies showed that people needed additional support systems and using nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking successfully.
Can Chewing Nicotine Gum Be Harmful?
This 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
- Rapid or pounding heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Blisters or sores in the mouth
Does Nicotine Gum Really Work?The success rates for using nicotine gum are 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.
Is Long-Term Use of Nicorette Gum Harmful?
Because this product and other nicotine replacement products are medications, they can have serious effects. The most severe 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 nicotine addiction. Symptoms of nicotine overdose or poisoning include:
- Respiratory distress
- Quick and heavy breathing
- High blood pressure
- And even death.
Children are also at risk of nicotine poisoning if they find gum, particularly because of its similarity to other non-toxic forms of gum.
Even normal use of gum per the package directions can cause some health risks. For example, long-term use of the product 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.
Nicotine Gum for Pregnant
Pregnant women 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 should ask their doctors about safer methods to help them quit smoking.
It 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 using these powerful medications properly to make sure you use them safely and appropriately.
Summing It Up
Nicotine gum seems great; 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 the program, but if you switch addictions, 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 theNicotine Patch and vapor cigarettes. These are the nicotine replacement therapy products with the least risk and the highest success rate. Good luck!