Nicotine Gum: What it Is and How to Use It

When you consume nicotine gum, you should chew it gently and slowly for about 5 to 10 times. In this article, learn more about nicotine gum and how to use it to quit smoking.
Nicotine Gum: What it Is and How to Use It
María Vijande

Reviewed and approved by the pharmacist María Vijande.

Written by María Vijande

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Nicotine gum is a type of replacement therapy designed to help you quit smoking painlessly and effectively.

There are chewing gums with various nicotine concentrations, from 2 to 4 mg. Nicotine slowly releases during the first 30 minutes, depending on the chewing intensity.

Doctors prescribe the use of nicotine gum during times when a person feels an intense desire to smoke but wants to quit. The nicotine from chewing gum penetrates the mucous membrane slower than the nicotine from cigarettes. Therefore, the amount of nicotine in your blood is never as high as when you smoke a cigarette.

However, while nicotine gum can help you quit smoking, it’s important to note that you won’t feel the same as when you smoke.

Nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking

A woman showing a broken cigarette.

Nicotine is tobacco’s main substance, and it causes physical addiction to tobacco. This kind of dependence can lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to quit.

Nicotine replacement therapy supplies nicotine in the form of chewing gum, sprays, inhalers and nicotine lozenges. All these alternatives lack the harmful additives of cigarettes.

Also, smoking replacement therapy can help alleviate some of the physical withdrawal symptoms, so that a person can concentrate on the psychological aspects of quitting their habit.

Some studies proved that using nicotine gum, together with other smoking replacement therapies, can nearly double the chances of quitting successfully.

How does nicotine gum work?

To consume this kind of medication, you should chew it gently and slowly, from 5 to 10 times, until you notice the bitter and irritating characteristic taste of nicotine. Many people describe it as a slight tingling in your mouth. Then, you must stop chewing and place the gum between your gums and the inside of your cheek. This makes nicotine easier to absorb by the mucosa, slowly. Once the taste disappears, chew the gum again and place it in a different area.

The gum lasts about 30 minutes, so you may have to repeat this operation throughout the days you’re quitting. However, it’s not advisable to chew another piece of gum for at least an hour after you finish one. The reason for it is to decrease your chances of adverse side-effects. Yes, it’s chewing gum…but this kind can lead to uneasy feelings due to its active substance.

Also, doctors don’t recommend using more than 24 pieces of 2 mg tablets or more than 15 pieces of 4 mg tablets per day. If you exceed these amounts, then your risk of overdose also increases.

Doctors do recommend to chew this gum a maximum of 3 times a day, or between 3 to 8 tablets a day. This is taking into account that 1 cigarette contains 1 mg of nicotine.

Further instructions

An anti-smoking illustration.
  • Don’t energetically chew the gum or swallow your saliva after chewing this kind of gum. This can lead to discomfort in your mouth and throat, as well as stomach pain and other digestion problems.
  • Also, nicotine won’t work when swallowed, as it won’t be absorbed by the mucous membrane and will inactivate as soon as it reaches the stomach.
  • Also, don’t eat or drink coffee, carbonated drinks or juices at least 15 minutes before or after chewing. This is because these products may decrease the absorption of nicotine. However, water is allowed.

Things to keep in mind about nicotine gum

In addition to the instructions in the previous section, we would like to give you a series of things to keep in mind when it comes to consuming nicotine gum:

First of all, we recommend that you use this medicine in anticipation of any situation in which you know you’re going to feel like smoking. And, in general, use it whenever you feel like smoking.

Second, keep them with you at all times. That way, they’ll be handy if you find yourself in a situation where you feel the urge to smoke. Know that the mere act of grabbing a cigarette considerably increases your chances of smoking it.

Finally, if you observe any of the following symptoms after using this kind of gum, then run it by your doctor or pharmacist:

  • Irritation in your mouth and gums
  • Jaw and throat pain
  • Increased salivation


A broken cigarette.

Giving up smoking is possible… and a very healthy decision for you, your loved ones, and the planet. Just be clear about your goal and help yourself through a good nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine chewing gum.

It’ll help you hold on to your willpower and remain disciplined.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Martín, F., & Corral, L. P. (2013). Tratamiento farmacológico del tabaquismo. Trastornos Adictivos.
  • JR, H., JL, P., PW, C., Callahan, R., & Kenny, M. (2004). El mal uso y la dependencia de over-the-counter chicle de nicotina en una muestra de voluntarios. Nicotine & Tobacco Research : Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco.
  • Oncken, C., Dornelas, E., Greene, J., Sankey, H., Glasmann, A., Feinn, R., & HR, K. (2008). El chicle de nicotina para los fumadores embarazadas: un ensayo controlado aleatorizado. Obstetrics and Gynecology.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.