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Using the gum

Problems to avoid

Don’t chew nicotine gum like ordinary chewing gum – it won’t work properly. Chew the gum slowly, until you feel a tingling sensation or a ‘peppery’ taste (usually after about 10 chews). Then rest it for one minute under your tongue, or between your cheek and teeth. This allows the nicotine to pass though the lining of your mouth. You should continue this ‘chew - rest’ sequence for 30 minutes, then throw away the gum.

You should avoid eating and drinking 15 minutes before, and during, use of the gum (except for water). Acidic foods or drinks, such as orange juice, coffee, beer and soft drink, interfere with the amount of nicotine passing through the lining of your mouth from the gum.

When to start use

Once you've bought the gum, you should set a quit date. Start using the gum first thing in the morning of your quit date or soon after your last cigarette - don't wait for cravings to hit first.

How much to use

The product information says that most people need about eight to 12 pieces of the 2mg gum or four to 10 pieces of the 4mg gum per day. It recommends use for at least 12 weeks. After this period, you may gradually decrease the number of pieces of gum you use each day.One way to reduce your nicotine gum use to zero is to gradually replace it with sugarless gum. You should not use more than 10 pieces of 4mg gum, or 20 pieces of 2mg gum, in one day.

When to use

Some instructions on the packet recommend using the gum when you feel the urge to smoke. However, Australian General Practice Guidelines and other research note that under use of the gum is a common problem, and that the gum works better when used regularly. Therefore, nicotine gum users may benefit from using one piece every one to two hours, and also using an extra piece if a strong nicotine craving arises.

Remember: Nicotine gum is a medicine and you should use it according to the advice from your pharmacist or doctor.