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How can nicotine gum help me quit?

Addiction to nicotine in tobacco is the major reason why people continue to smoke. The gum works by replacing some of the nicotine you would normally inhale from cigarettes. It consists of nicotine mixed with chewing gum. Chewing the gum releases nicotine, which is then absorbed through the lining of your mouth.

Using the gum can help to reduce withdrawal symptoms when you quit, such as cravings and irritability. However, it may not stop these symptoms completely.

Why may I still have cravings while using the gum?

You may still have cravings while using the gum because:

  • You may not be using it properly. Read Using the gum and the product information to avoid common problems.
  • You may not be getting enough nicotine from the gum. If your cravings are bad and do not lessen within 20 minutes of starting use of the gum, you could consider other options. These include using more or a higher dose of the gum, or using the gum with the nicotine patch (Read Can I use the gum with the nicotine patch?). Speak to your pharmacist or doctor, if you think this is a likely cause of your cravings.
  • You have an urge or desire to smoke when you are in situations where you are used to smoking.

Certain things may trigger cravings, such as:

  • Places where you normally smoke, such as home, work, or the pub
  • People who you usually smoke with, such as family or friends; or being alone
  • Habits or routines where you are used to smoking, such as when drinking coffee or alcohol, talking on the telephone, after meals, or when you want to relax
  • Emotions, such as anger, boredom, being tense or upset; or for some people, when they are happy.

You need to understand why you smoke in order to plan ways to deal with these situations. Making your home smokefree, avoiding trigger situations where possible in the first few weeks, and getting rid of cigarettes in your home and car are all helpful strategies. Information, advice or support is available for the cost of a local call from the Quitline.