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 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 chewing gum in blister pack
  1. What does Nicotine Gum do
  2. How to Chew Nicotine Gum
  3. Is There Prescription Nicotine Gum?
  4. Nicotine Gum Side Effects
  5. Nicotine Gum Effects
  6. Long-Term use of Nicotine Gum
  7. Closing-Thoughts

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.

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 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.

Prescription Medicine

nicotine gum therapy
Jiri Hera/Shutterstock

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
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid or pounding heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash
  • Blisters or sores in the mouth

Does Nicotine Gum Really Work?

nicotine gum blasters
Alex Farias/Shutterstock
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
  • Seizures
  • 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!

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Published: October 11, 2017 Updated: October 25, 2021



Leave a comment

48 comments on “Nicotine Gum: A Complete Guide

  • Buster

    July 22, 2019 at 11:00 am

    smoked for 30 years and then chewed the gum for 10 years. I am on day 4 of no nicorette gum. I can do this!

  • Lucrecia Ruyes

    November 15, 2018 at 5:58 am

    Thanks For Sharing

  • Mary Joe

    November 2, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    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!

  • Hareesh

    September 22, 2018 at 11:11 am

    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

  • Khushdeep

    August 12, 2018 at 12:12 am

    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🙋🏻‍♂️

  • Anonymous

    August 6, 2018 at 1:58 am

    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..

  • Shawn

    July 24, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    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.

    • Pathetic

      August 1, 2018 at 4:30 am

      Maybe just grow a pair and stop chewing the gum?

  • Julie Persaud

    July 22, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    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

    • Geneen

      August 20, 2018 at 3:36 am

      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 😉

  • Blondie

    June 25, 2018 at 9:35 am

    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
    Have also downloaded an app to help

  • Sunny Sunday

    June 21, 2018 at 7:51 am

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

  • ssb

    June 17, 2018 at 12:05 am

    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

  • Jay

    June 3, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    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.

  • gerry

    June 2, 2018 at 10:01 am

    try hypnosis

  • viv

    May 27, 2018 at 11:17 pm

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

    • Vigier

      June 24, 2018 at 4:25 am

      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

  • Craig

    May 19, 2018 at 11:47 am

    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

  • Susan

    May 2, 2018 at 5:21 am

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

  • Dee Mazzei

    April 12, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    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.

  • Tony

    April 4, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    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.

  • smithy

    April 4, 2018 at 2:57 am

    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….

  • Tony

    April 1, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    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.

  • TheJoker

    March 28, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    It really helped quit smoking with 15days.

  • a well wisher 23

    March 21, 2018 at 5:37 am

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

  • santanu

    March 13, 2018 at 9:50 am

    one pkt=10 but how much cost

  • Diane

    February 27, 2018 at 8:50 am

    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

  • jeff

    February 20, 2018 at 3:39 pm


  • Paul

    January 5, 2018 at 7:25 am

    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.

    • Smokefree

      February 20, 2018 at 10:12 am

      @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!

    • Brian

      March 1, 2018 at 7:24 pm

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

      • Brandon

        March 12, 2018 at 1:20 pm

        *Other than

      • Megan

        March 19, 2018 at 7:37 pm


      • Willow

        May 18, 2018 at 11:21 pm


        • Helena

          August 22, 2018 at 7:39 pm

          Lol was thinking the same thing 😂

      • Missy uneek

        May 20, 2018 at 12:52 am

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

      • Missy uneek

        May 20, 2018 at 1:30 am

        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.

      • Bob

        May 20, 2018 at 8:29 pm


      • Jared

        June 4, 2018 at 3:17 am

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

      • Cathy

        August 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm

        What a horrible thing to say to someon

      • Misty

        September 19, 2018 at 4:20 pm

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

    • anne

      June 19, 2018 at 9:25 am

      try the 6mg, they helped me

  • Debra

    December 16, 2017 at 5:36 am

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

    • Jeff

      July 5, 2018 at 6:42 pm

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

  • Fred Phelps

    November 15, 2017 at 6:33 pm

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

  • Brady Hall

    November 7, 2017 at 8:07 pm

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

  • rakesh pradhan

    October 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm


  • kashif ahmad

    October 17, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Where Can I Find It In Karachi, Pakistan?