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Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): gum

There are lots of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products. Find one that's right for you. Learn about each one and work out how it could help you quit.

Nicotine gum is NRT that looks a bit like chewing gum.

How does it help?

It helps you to quit by replacing some of the nicotine you would normally get from a cigarette. You may still get cravings but nicotine gum lessens them. Using the gum can also help to reduce nicotine withdrawal when you quit, such as cravings, difficulty concentrating, frustration, restlessness and anxiety.

How to use?

When you feel like a cigarette, chew the gum until it starts to tingle in the mouth. Then park in the side of your mouth for a minute or so. Nicotine is absorbed through the mouth and slowly released into your body. Repeat "chew and park" for about 30 minutes until the tingle starts to fade.

Pros and cons

The gum is one of the cheapest NRT products. However, it is slower at delivering nicotine than the other NRT products (except the patch). Some people tell us they don’t like the peppery taste of the gum. Some people make the mistake of using it like chewing gum – it's important to rest the gum in your cheek. Other NRT products can be easier to  use.

Effectiveness

Using the gum doubles your chance of quitting. Combination therapy  – using patches plus the gum – is even more effective again. If you add Quitline to the mix, you’ll have an even better chance. 

Where can you get it?

You can buy the gum at pharmacies or supermarkets.

Best use

You typically start using the gum on your quit day (but you can also use it to cut down and quit). There are two different strengths of gum: 2mg (for those who smoke less than 20 cigarettes per day), or 4mg (for those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day). It’s recommended to use 8–12 pieces for the 2mg gum, or 4–10 pieces for the 4mg gum, and to gradually reduce the gum over 12 weeks. 

Gum works best if you use it for at least 8 weeks, and if you have strategies to beat the stress and break the habit.  

For more information: talk to your doctor, pharmacist or Quitline. Request a Quitline callback. Or download the nicotine gum fact sheet.

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