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Nicotine Gum


You chew nicotine gum as a way to help yourself quit using commercial tobacco. The gum has nicotine and feels and looks like chewing gum. When you chew the gum, the nicotine begins to slowly release into your mouth. Then you hold the gum in your mouth between your cheek and gums.

Here's how you use nicotine gum.

  • Read the materials that come with the product.
    • Consider using the other materials provided with the nicotine gum. They can help you change your smoking behaviour.
    • Read about the side effects listed on the package insert.
  • Choose the right strength gum and determine how much you need to use.
    • Nicotine gum comes in several flavours and in two strengths: 2 mg and 4 mg. Start with the 4 mg strength if you smoke within 30 minutes of waking up or if your healthcare provider recommends it.
    • Follow the written instructions that come with the gum for how many pieces you can use in a day. Most people use 10 to 15 pieces a day. (Do not chew more than 30 pieces of the 2 mg gum or 20 pieces of the 4 mg gum in a day.)
  • Chew the gum using the "chew and park" method.
    • Use 1 piece of gum at a time.
    • Put a piece of gum into your mouth, and chew it slowly a few times to break it down. Chewing will release a "peppery" taste. Next, park the gum between your gums and cheek, and leave it there.
    • Repeat the process of chewing and parking for about 15 to 30 minutes, or until there is no more peppery taste released by chewing. The gum is used up at that point. The nicotine from the gum makes its way into your system through the blood vessels that line your mouth.
    • If you chew the gum without parking it, the nicotine will be released directly into the saliva in your mouth and you will swallow it. This may cause a stomach ache, hiccups, or heartburn. Also, it may take longer for the nicotine to get into your bloodstream.
  • Gradually cut back on how much gum you use.

    As the urge to smoke decreases, use fewer pieces of gum each day. When you are using only 1 or 2 pieces a day, stop using the gum completely. But you may want to keep some nicotine gum with you in case you face a strong temptation to smoke, which could cause you to relapse.

  • Watch what you drink.

    Avoid drinking beverages, especially acidic ones (such as coffee, juices, and soda pop), for 15 minutes before and after you chew. Your body may not absorb the nicotine well because of the acid in these drinks.

  • Don't chew too little gum or stop using it too early.

    Using too little of the gum will result in withdrawal symptoms similar to those caused by suddenly stopping smoking.

What to watch for

You may be getting too much nicotine if you have:

  • A fast heartbeat.
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting (throwing up).
  • Dizziness or weakness.
  • Fainting.
  • Sweating.
  • Blurry vision or trouble hearing.
  • Confusion.
  • Seizures.

If you have any of these after taking nicotine gum, stop using it and see a doctor right away.

Side effects

Side effects of nicotine gum may include:

  • Sore mouth.
  • Jaw ache.
  • Hiccups.
  • Stomachache.
  • Throat and mouth irritation.

You may have these side effects if you do not use the gum the correct right way. Read and follow the instructions for how to use the gum.

Call 911 if you have a severe allergic reaction, including swelling in your mouth, a tight feeling in your chest, or trouble breathing. Allergic reactions to nicotine gum are very rare.

Talk to your pharmacist about how quitting might affect other medicines you take. Your body may respond to some medicines differently once you stop smoking tobacco.

Some people have had suicidal thoughts when they try to quit smoking without medicines. Sometimes quitting smoking can lead to mental health problems you already have, like depression, getting worse.

Before taking any quit-smoking treatment, tell your healthcare provider (doctor, pharmacist, or nurse) about:

  • Any depression, changes in mood, or other mental health problems you have had.
  • Any symptoms or concerns you had other times you tried to quit smoking, with or without medicines.

Related Information


Adaptation Date: 6/14/2023

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.