How to Use Nicotine Lozenges

How to Use Nicotine Lozenges
Nicotine Lozenge icon

Nicotine Lozenge icon
  • For best results, make sure you start on the right dose. The nicotine lozenge comes in two sizes (regular and mini) and each size 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. If you are using the lozenge along with the nicotine patch, you may want to start with the 2 mg dose. Over time (typically after 8 to 12 weeks), you can lower the dose and how often you use it with the goal of eventually stopping use of the lozenge completely.
  • Use 1 lozenge every 1-2 hours for the first six weeks of your quit attempt. Try to think ahead about when you might get a craving for a cigarette, and then use a lozenge before the craving happens. To ensure that your body gets enough nicotine to ease your withdrawal symptoms, it is best to use at least 9 lozenges per day for the first six weeks.
  • If you are using the lozenge along with the nicotine patch, you may not need to use the lozenge as frequently because you will use it when you get or expect a craving. Do not use more than 5 lozenges in 6 hours, and do not use more than 20 lozenges per day. After 6 weeks of use, you can reduce use to 1 lozenge every 2-4 hours, and then 1 lozenge 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 lozenge less frequently.
  • Do not use more than one lozenge at a time, and do not use one lozenge right after another. This could cause side effects like heartburn or nausea.
  • Do not eat or drink for 15 minutes before using the lozenge or while the lozenge is in your mouth. Food and drinks that are acidic, such as soda and coffee, can stop the lozenge from working as well.
  • Nicotine lozenges are not like regular lozenges. To use properly, put the lozenge in your mouth between your gums and your cheek. You may feel a warm or tingling sensation. Allow the lozenge to dissolve slowly over 20-30 minutes, moving it around every so often from one side of your mouth to the other. Do not chew, suck, or swallow it.
  • Keep out of reach of children and pets. Nicotine lozenges may have enough nicotine to make children and pets sick. If you need to remove the lozenge, 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 lozenges, including side effects and precautions.
How to Use a Nicotine Lozenge to Quit Smoking
The nicotine lozenge is an FDA-approved medicine that can help people quit smoking. It can be used every 1-2 hours by itself to control withdrawal symptoms (up to 20 pieces per day), or it may be used as needed for stronger cravings when used in combination with nicotine patch. This video offers step-by-step instructions on how to use the nicotine lozenge by itself. This video is part of the SmokefreeVET partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Cancer Institute’s Initiative.

For more help using medicines to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit Talk with your healthcare provider about the best medicine for you. Using medicine together with behavioral counseling gives you the best chance of quitting smoking.

Quick lozenge tips
nicotine lozenge
Photo from used with permission of Mayo Clinic; no product endorsement implied.
  • Consider combining the lozenge 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 lozenge can be used to more quickly relieve cravings as they happen.
  • If you have strong cravings while using the nicotine lozenge, make sure you are using a strong enough dose and that you are using the lozenge often enough. If you smoke regularly, it’s best to use at least 9 lozenges a day for the first 6 weeks, and you can use up to 20 lozenges per day. You can also consider adding the nicotine patch, as described above.
  • What if I slip up and smoke while using the lozenge? You do not need to stop using the lozenge if you slip up and smoke. Throw away your cigarettes and get back on track with your quit attempt. Keep using the lozenge as directed.
  • What if I don’t like the taste of the lozenge? Remember that the nicotine lozenge is a medication, not a candy. Most people get used to the taste after a day or two. The good news is that the lozenge comes in different sizes (regular and mini) and flavors (cherry, mint, cinnamon). If you do not like what you start with, consider trying a different size or flavor.
  • For best results, use nicotine lozenges 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-1.8 MB]. Some of the ways have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA.