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How should I use nicotine gum as a nicotine replacement therapy?

One of the most important things you can do for your cardiovascular health is quit smoking. In addition to other strategies such as learning to avoid your triggers and seeking counseling, there is a range of medications that may be able to help you quit smoking. One common form is nicotine gum, which is a type of nicotine-replacement medication. This means it provides nicotine to help you crave cigarettes less while you are quitting.
What It Does
Nicotine gum provides nicotine in a sugar-free chewing gum base. Buffering agents (sodium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate) are added to change the pH of your mouth, which improves absorption of nicotine across the lining of the mouth. Nicotine concentration in the blood reaches its peak within 20 minutes.
How to Take It
Chew the gum whenever you have the urge to smoke, up to 24 pieces per day. Do not drink acidic beverages (coffee, soda) prior to or during gum use for best absorption. If you smoke more than 25 cigarettes per day, use 4 mg gum. If you smoke fewer than 25 cigarettes per day, use 2 mg gum. For best absorption, careful chewing technique is advised: chew until taste appears, and then park the gum in the cheek until the taste disappears. Repeat for 30 minutes.
How Long to Use It
Nicotine gum can be used for up to 3 months.
Precautions/Contraindications
The gum tends to adhere to dental work more than regular gum and may not be suitable for people with braces, dentures, bridges, or significant dental restoration; also it is not recommended for patients with temporomandibular joint disease (TMJ).
Other Considerations
Gum may be a good option for people who desire oral stimulation during cessation, identify boredom as a trigger for smoking, or are concerned about weight gain after quitting.
Nicotine gum is one of the most convenient forms of nicotine replacement therapy. You can purchase it without a prescription, and you control the dose. Here are some tips for using the gum. If you smoke a lot, purchase a higher dose gum. Wait at least 15 minutes after eating or drinking before chewing a piece of nicotine gum. Chew one or two pieces of gum each hour, but do not chew more than 20 pieces in any 24-hour period. Chew the gum slowly until it tastes like pepper, then tuck it between your cheek and gum so you absorb the nicotine. Cut back on the amount of gum you chew over the next six months. You must stop smoking completely before beginning to use nicotine gum.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.