You chew nicotine gum as a way to help yourself quit using tobacco.
The gum contains nicotine and feels and looks like chewing gum. When you chew
the gum, the nicotine begins to slowly release into your mouth. Then you hold
the gum in your mouth between your cheek and gums.
Cigarette smoke passes nicotine almost instantly into the blood
through the lining of the lungs, and the blood takes it to the brain in a few
seconds. The nicotine in the gum takes several minutes to reach the brain. This
makes the "hit" less rapid with the gum than with a cigarette. Nicotine gum
also delivers much less nicotine to your body than a cigarette would.
How to use nicotine gum
Nicotine gum comes in several flavors and in two strengths:
2 mg and 4 mg. Start with the 4 mg strength if
you smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day or if your doctor recommends it.
Do not chew nicotine gum like normal gum. Instead, use the "chew
and park" method:
Use one piece of gum at a time.
a piece of gum into your mouth, and chew it slowly a few times to break it
down. Chewing will release a "peppery" taste. Next, park the gum between your
gums and cheek, and leave it there.
Repeat the process of chewing
and parking for about 15 to 30 minutes, or until there is no more peppery taste
released by chewing. The gum is used up at that point. The nicotine from the
gum makes its way into your system through the blood vessels that line your
If you chew the gum without parking it, the nicotine will be
released directly into the saliva in your mouth and you will swallow it. This
may cause a stomachache, hiccups, or heartburn.
Other tips for using nicotine gum
Avoid drinking beverages, especially acidic
ones (such as coffee, juices, and soda pop), for 15 minutes before and after
you chew. Your body may not absorb the nicotine well because of the acid in
Follow the written instructions that come with the
gum for how many pieces you can use per day. Most people use 10 to 15 pieces a
day. (Do not chew more than 30 pieces of the
2 mg gum or 20 pieces of the
4 mg gum a day.)
the other materials provided with the nicotine gum. These can help you change
your smoking behavior.
Avoid the common mistakes of chewing too little gum or stopping
use too early. Using too little of the gum will result in withdrawal symptoms
similar to those caused by abruptly stopping smoking.
As the urge
to smoke decreases, use fewer pieces of gum each day. When you are using only 1
or 2 pieces a day, stop using the gum completely. However, you may want to keep
some nicotine gum with you in case you find yourself in a potential relapse
It is possible to become dependent on nicotine gum, but this is
Nicotine gum does have side effects. Read the package insert before
you use this medicine.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.