Quit Smoking Support
Quitting Smoking With Nicorette Gum
The Food and Drug Administration approved nicotine gum (nicotine polacrilex) for prescription sale in 1984, and began allowing its sale without a prescription in February 1996.
Nicotine gum helps you quit by providing you with a source of nicotine apart from smoking. It comes in different strengths (usually 4mg or 2mg of nicotine per piece), which you choose from based on how much you smoke. Nicotine gum, like any nicotine replacement therapy, allows you to deal with the physical component of addiction over a longer period of time with less drastic withdrawal symptoms.
The advantages of nicotine gum are that you can take it when you need it (so long as you don't exceed the amount suggested by the directions), so that you can cut down on your nicotine as quickly or as slowly as you want; it is relatively inexpensive; and it provides some oral gratification of its own to replace the cigarettes.
The disadvantages are that you can't chew it while drinking soda or alcoholic beverages, so it's no good to you in a bar; it can make you feel sick if you chew it too fast; and it takes a long time for it to work, so if you wait for too long between pieces you can become extremely irritable while waiting for the piece you're chewing to affect you.
Nicotine gum allows tobacco users to break their habit in two stages: the smoker can first focus on overcoming the behavioral and psychological components of their habit without having to go through nicotine withdrawal at the same time; and they can wean themselves from nicotine at a later date of their own choosing, when there is no longer the psychological and behavioral urges to use.
The nicotine gum can be used by any interested tobacco user, but it can best benefit:
Do not chew nicotine gum like ordinary chewing gum! Nicotine gum contains an ordinary chewing-gum base, but also contains nicotine bound to an inert resin. As a result of the physical action of chewing, molecules of nicotine are gradually dislodged from the resin. The nicotine is then absorbed into the bloodstream through the membranes that line the inside of the mouth. The gum also contains a buffer that maintains an acidity level that ensures the nicotine will be absorbed at a steady rate.
How to chew nicotine gum:
Most people find that chewing nine to 12 pieces a day controls their urge to smoke. The maximum number of pieces that can be safely chewed in a day is between 20 and 30, depending upon the type of nicotine gum.
You may not like the gum as much as smoking a cigarette, but using the gum will make it easier to go without a cigarette. Using a nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can double the chances of successful, long-term quitting. It significantly decreases the severity of such withdrawal symptoms as irritability, anger, frustration, restlessness, impatience, sleepiness and food cravings. It appears to be particularly effective in decreasing withdrawal symptoms during the afternoon and evening hours.
Warnings and Precautions:
Other side-effects, that are often experienced when first starting to use the gum, include:
Women should take precautions to avoid pregnancy while using the nicotine gum. If pregnancy occurs, the use of the gum should be discontinued.
Do not swallow the gum! Adverse effects are unlikely, but if they are experienced, contact a physician or local poison control center immediately. Nicotine overdose could occur if many pieces are chewed or swallowed in a short period of time.
Keep nicotine gum and any nicotine replacement therapy away from children and pets! If a child or pet accidentally swallows a piece of gum, contact a physician, veterinarian or local poison control center immediately.
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Updated August 2018