People everywhere are trying to quit smoking, but many rapidly find that quitting cold-turkey doesn’t work for them. Most people need help of some sort to break their addiction to cigarettes. There are many products on the market today for this purpose, from prescription medication to nicotine patches and gums. While patches work for many, some people find they need something that addresses the immediacy of nicotine cravings. For those individuals, using nicotine gum is a better solution.
Nicotine gum is available in two different dosages: 2mg or 4mg.
4mg gum is only recommended for heavy smokers (those who smoke more than 25 cigarettes a day) or if you smoke your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up. The gum can either be used as much as every 1-2 hours, or as cravings strike.
Unlike standard chewing gum, there is a specific method for how nicotine gum should be used to prevent gastrointestinal discomfort or nausea called the "park and chew" technique.
Park and Chew Technique
- Place the gum in your mouth and bite slowly and deliberately about 15 times or until a strong taste or tingling sensation is felt. These sensations indicate the nicotine is being released.
- Stop chewing and place the gum between your cheek and gums.
- When the intensity of these sensations decreases, begin to chew again.
- Repeat this cycle of "park and chew" for about 30 minutes, or until the peppery taste and tingling sensation subside.
There are some precautions to consider when using nicotine gum to quit smoking, however. You should only chew one piece at a time and no more often than one per hour – more than this can lead to overdose. Avoid chewing the gum too fast as this will reduce its effectiveness and will release too much nicotine into your blood stream. Lastly, do not eat or drink for 15 minutes prior to, or while chewing the gum, as doing so will interfere with nicotine absorption.
It is recommended that you reduce your use of the gum over time to allow your body to adjust to the decrease in nicotine. This can be done by:
- Switching from 4mg to 2mg gum
- Replace one or more pieces of nicotine gum with sugarless chewing gum
- Reduce the number of pieces used per day
- Reduce the amount of time the gum is chewed.
|One Piece of Gum|
|Week||Time Between Chewing|
|1 - 6||1 - 2 hours|
|7 - 9||2 - 4 hours|
|10 - 12||4 - 8 hours|
It is recommended that you only use nicotine gum for three months, and it should definitely not be used for longer than six months without talking to your doctor. However, if you are a smoker who is trying to quit and willpower alone isn’t doing the job, using nicotine gum can help you through the roughest patch of the process. You have nothing to lose and your good health and freedom from addiction to gain.
There are side effects associated with using nicotine gum, but they aren't long lasting or particularly harmful.