QuitNow BC British Columbia Lung Association

Nicotine Gum

Thrive™ gum is a non-prescription (over-the-counter) nicotine replacement therapy product and only contains nicotine and none of the other toxins that are in tobacco smoke. Each piece of gum has nicotine in it, which is released when used as directed, allowing you to receive nicotine when you have a craving for a cigarette.

The Thrive™ gum brand (2mg/4mg) is one of two NRT products covered under the BC Smoking Cessation Program.

Advantages

  • The nicotine gum good for occasional smokers to reduce withdrawal symptoms, cravings and manage stress.
  • You can use the gum to help you reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke daily.

Common side effects

Nicotine gum is not like regular gum. If used incorrectly, you are more likely to experience side effects, including

  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Mouth, throat or gum irritation
  • Jaw ache
  • Hiccups
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping

How to use

Note: The taste of nicotine gum can be unpleasant at first but most people get use to it with regular use.

  • Nicotine gum shouldn’t be chewed like regular chewing gum. Use bite-park technique. 'Bite' the gum once or twice, then “park” the gum in the corner of your mouth (between your cheek and gums).
  • Wait one minute, bite the gum a few more times, and then “park” the gum again.
  • Repeat the 'bite' and “park” process for 30 minutes.
  • It takes 15 to 30 minutes for the gum to start working so use the gum prior to when you think you will need it. For instance, if you used to smoke on your coffee break, take the gum 30 minutes prior to your regular break.
  • Avoid acidic food or beverages like coffee, tea, juice, and soda 15 minutes before using the gum. The acid in these products can prevent your mouth from absorbing the nicotine from the gum.

Warnings & precautions

If you have an active jaw disease or jaw/dental pain you should use a different form of nicotine replacement therapy, as these conditions will make it difficult to use the gum.

Consult your doctor or pharmacist prior to starting the gum if the following apply to you:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Being treated for any serious heart condition
  • Heart attack or stroke within last two weeks
  • Require kidney dialysis
  • Use any prescribed medication regularly

Stop using the nicotine gum immediately and see your doctor if you experience the following:

  • chest pain
  • irregular heartbeat
  • palpitations
  • leg pain
  • persistent stomach pain