advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Hooked on Nicotine Gum?

How do I break my addiction to nicotine gum? I don't want to smoke cigarettes, but I'm hooked on the gum. Any advice?

A
Answer (Published 4/23/2002)

(Updated 1/24/2005)

Nicotine gum can be an effective way to wean yourself away from an addiction to cigarettes. It contains enough nicotine to reduce the urge to smoke by taking the edge off your craving for cigarettes. But you do have to use it correctly to get the full effect, and you shouldn't chew more than 30 pieces per day or use the gum for more than three months. While considered safe and effective for short-term use, the gum has not been evaluated for longer periods of time.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Balance - Too much of anything can be harmful - including vitamins. Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor takes into account your age, gender and health history to determine the optimal dosage. Learn more, and get your free, personalized Vitamin & Supplement Recommendation today.

Ideally, for maximum effectiveness you should not chew the gum for 15 minutes after eating or drinking. You're supposed to chew it briefly to release the nicotine (you'll notice a peppery taste or feel a slight tingling in your mouth after about 15 chews) and then "park" the gum between your cheek and gum so that the nicotine can be absorbed into the lining of the cheek. When the peppery taste or tingling diminishes, chew again to release more nicotine. Your need for the drug should gradually diminish allowing you to chew fewer and fewer pieces per day and to stop entirely when you are down to one or two pieces daily.

As you have discovered, the gum itself can be addicting which is why you are not supposed to use it for more than six months. You also can overdose if you chew too much. Symptoms include stomach pain, fuzzy vision, cold sweat, diarrhea, trouble breathing and hearing, dizziness, exhaustion, fainting, headache, low blood pressure, mental confusion, nausea, pallor, fast and irregular pulse, too much saliva, "the shakes" and vomiting. And if you find yourself both smoking and chewing nicotine gum, seek professional help.

If you can't wean yourself off the gum by slowly cutting back on the amount you chew each day - as you're supposed to - you could try acupuncture or hypnosis to help you overcome the habit. Since you're not getting as much nicotine as you would if you were still smoking cigarettes, you shouldn't find giving up the gum is as difficult as it is to quit smoking.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here