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Nicotine gum contains enough nicotine to reduce the urge to smoke. The over-the- counter gum is available in the same strength as the original prescription product, 2mg (for smokers of 24 or fewer cigarettes each day) and 4mg (for smokers of 25 or more cigarettes each day).
Like nicotine patches, nicotine gum helps take the edge off cigarette cravings without providing the tars and poisonous gases found in cigarettes. It is a temporary aid that reduces symptoms of nicotine withdrawal after quitting smoking. Nicotine gum must be used properly in order to be effective.
Steps for nicotine gum users to follow include:
- Stop all smoking when beginning the nicotine gum.
- Do not eat or drink for 15 minutes before using, or while chewing the gum (some beverages can reduce its effectiveness).Chew the gum slowly on and off for 30 minutes to release most of the nicotine. Parking the gum between the cheek and gum allows the absorption of nicotine into the lining of the cheek.
- Chew enough gum to reduce withdrawal symptoms (10-15 pieces a day but no more than 30 a day).
- Use the gum every day for about a month or so, then start to reduce the number of pieces you chew a day, chewing only what you need to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Discontinue use of gum after three months. Nicotine gum is available by both prescription and over-the-counter without a prescription.
Source: American Lung Association, 2002