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Quitting Smoking

Nicotine replacement mouth spray

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is medicine that replaces some of the nicotine you get from tobacco. This can help with nicotine withdrawal and give you a better chance of using less tobacco and quitting.

One type of NRT is the mouth spray. Your healthcare provider will help you decide if it’s right for you, what dose you need, how long to take it, and if you should combine it with another medicine that helps you quit smoking.

How it works

Nicotine is a powerful, addictive drug in tobacco. Your body becomes used to the effects of nicotine. When you go without nicotine, your body and brain need time to adjust. This adjustment is called nicotine withdrawal. It can start as soon as 30 minutes after you last used tobacco.

Nicotine withdrawal can cause:

  • tobacco craving
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • trouble concentrating
  • restlessness
  • sleeplessness
  • depression
  • increased appetite

NRT mouth spray releases nicotine into your mouth. The nicotine is absorbed into your bloodstream through the inside lining of your cheek. You should notice nicotine withdrawal symptoms getting better within 1 minute of using the spray.

Each bottle of NRT mouth spray has about 150 sprays. One spray will give you about 1mg of nicotine. This is almost the same as 1 cigarette.

If you have any other medical conditions, take other medicines, or you are pregnant or breastfeeding, tell your doctor and your pharmacist before you start using NRT mouth spray.

How to use it

Read the instructions on the package for how to properly unlock and prime the mouth spray pump before you use it.

Don't eat or drink 15 minutes before and after using the mouth spray, because it may affect how the nicotine enters your body.

Follow these steps to use NRT mouth spray:

  • 1.Point the spray nozzle toward your open mouth.
  • 2.Hold spray as close as possible to your mouth. Avoid touching your lips.
  • 3.Press down on the top of the dispenser firmly to release 1 spray into your mouth, under the tongue, avoiding your lips.
  • 4.Do not breathe in or swallow while spraying.
  • 5.Hold the spray in your mouth for 5 seconds before you swallow. Expect a strong taste in your mouth.
  • 6.If you still have cravings after 1 minute, you may take 1 more spray.

Do not use more than 2 sprays at a time, more than 4 sprays in 1 hour, ​or more than 64 sprays in a day.

Side effects

Side effects of using NRT mouth spray may include:
  • hiccups/coughing/sneezing
  • headache
  • stomachache
  • dry mouth or throat irritation
  • pain or tingling in the mouth or lips
  • a bad taste in your mouth
If you notice side effects, it could mean the spray wasn’t used properly. Read the instructions for using the mouth spray.

​What to watch for
Call 911 if you use NRT mouth spray and have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction such as a tight feeling in your chest or trouble breathing.

You may be getting too much nicotine if you have:
  • a fast heartbeat
  • nausea and vomiting
  • dizziness or weakness
  • fainting
  • sweating
  • blurry vision or trouble hearing
  • confusion
  • seizures 
If you think you are getting too much nicotine, stop using the spray and see a doctor right away. 

Some people have suicidal thoughts when they try to quit smoking without medicines. Sometimes quitting smoking can lead to mental health problems you already have, such as depression, getting worse. Before taking any quit-smoking treatment, tell your healthcare provider (doctor, pharmacist, or nurse) about:
  • current or past depression or other mental health problems
  • any symptoms or concerns you had other times you tried to quit smoking

Things to know

  • NRT is safer to use than tobacco because it doesn’t contain the dangerous chemicals that are in commercial tobacco products. 
  • The NRT mouth spray contains a very small amount of alcohol (less than 10 mg per spray). If this is a concern to you, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other medicines.
  • Try to quit using tobacco products before using the NRT mouth spray. If you still smoke or use tobacco products, you can use NRT as you use less tobacco.
  • Mouth spray pumps need to be primed before you use them for the first time or if you haven’t used the spray for more than a couple days. Press the dispenser several times into a tissue until a fine spray comes out. The spray may also have a child safety lock feature. Read the product information for more instructions.
  • Store the mouth spray at room temperature.
  • The spray container has enough nicotine in it to harm a child or animal. Store it and throw it away safely, away from children and pets. 

More support
Your chances of quitting tobacco are better if you use more than 1 quit method at the same time—for example, medicine and counselling.

You can get support and information from Alberta Health Services if you’d like to quit smoking or spit tobacco. Call or text AlbertaQuits at 1-866-710-QUIT (7848) or visit

Note: References to “tobacco” on this page do not include tobacco that is used for traditional and sacred reasons.​

Current as of: August 31, 2023

Author: Tobacco, Vaping and Cannabis Program, Alberta Health Services