How to Use Nicotine Gum
- For best results, make sure you start on the right dose. The nicotine gum comes in two strengths (2 mg and 4 mg). The right dose for you depends on when you usually have your first cigarette each day and how much you are currently smoking. If you have your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking, you should consider starting with the 4 mg dose. Over time (typically between 8 and 12 weeks), you can lower the dose and how often you use it until you stop using the gum completely.
- Use one piece of gum every 1-2 hours for the first 6 weeks of your quit attempt. Try to think ahead about when you might get a craving for a cigarette, and then use a piece of gum before the craving happens. To ensure that your body gets enough nicotine to ease the withdrawal symptoms you may be feeling, it is best to use at least 9 pieces of gum per day for the first 6 weeks.
- If you are using the gum along with the nicotine patch, you may not need to use the gum as frequently because you will use it when you get or expect a craving. Do not use more than 24 pieces of gum per day. Following 6 weeks of use, you can reduce use to 1 piece every 2-4 hours, and then 1 piece every 4-8 hours.
- If you use fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, or do not smoke every day, talk with your doctor or other healthcare provider about dosing. They may want you to start on a lower dose and use the gum less frequently.
- Do not eat or drink for 15 minutes before or during use. Food and drinks that are acidic, such as soda and coffee, can stop the gum from working as well.
- Nicotine gum is not like regular chewing gum. To use it correctly, bite down slowly on the gum until you feel a tingling in your mouth. Then “park” the gum between the inside of your cheek and your gums. Hold it for about a minute to let the nicotine absorb into your body. Then repeat this “chew” and “park” process until the tingling stops (usually about 30 minutes), occasionally changing where you “park” the gum in your mouth.
- Keep out of reach of children and pets. Nicotine gum may have enough nicotine to make children and pets sick. Store the gum out of reach of children and pets, and when you are done chewing a piece, wrap it in paper and immediately throw it in the trash. In case of accidental use or ingestion, contact a Poison Control Center right away (1-800-222-1222).
- Learn more about nicotine gumexternal icon, including side effects and precautions.
- Consider combining the gum with nicotine patches. You can do this when you first start using the medicine, or if you continue to have withdrawal symptoms. Patches can provide a steady level of nicotine in the body to help lessen withdrawal, while the gum can be used to more quickly relieve cravings as they happen.
- If you have strong cravings while using the nicotine gum, make sure you are using a strong enough dose and that you are using the gum often enough. You can chew a second piece of gum within the hour if needed. If you smoke regularly, it’s best to use at least 9 pieces of gum per day for the first 6 weeks, and you can use up to 24 pieces of gum per day. You can also consider adding the nicotine patch, as described above.
- What if I slip up and smoke while using the gum? You do not need to stop using the gum if you slip up and smoke. Throw away your cigarettes and get back on track with your quit attempt. Keep using the gum as directed.
- What if I don’t like the taste of the gum? Remember that the nicotine gum is a medication, not a candy. The good news is that the gum comes in different flavors (mint, cinnamon, cherry, and other flavors). If you do not like what you start with, consider trying a different flavor.
- Will the gum stick to dentures or dental work? Nicotine gum is sugar free, but it may stick to dentures, dental caps, or partial bridges. In those cases, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about other quit-smoking medicines that might work better for you.
- For best results, use nicotine gum as part of a program that includes coaching support. Talk with your healthcare provider and connect with your state tobacco quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for help.
The quit-smoking medicines talked about on this website are approved by the FDA for adults to use to quit cigarettes. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or younger than 18, you should not use these medicines without talking to your doctor. If you use tobacco products other than cigarettes (like cigars, chew, snuff, hookah, or e-cigarettes), talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider or call the quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) to get help with quitting. All the ways to use medicines presented here are reviewed in Smoking Cessation: A Report of the Surgeon General (Chapter 6)pdf icon. Some of the ways have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA.