Hey ex-smokers (and current smokers – this concerns you when you decide to quit, too!)
Smoking is one heck of a habit to quit. Despite knowing all of the health risks and effects and the cost, there are still millions of people lighting up everyday. This isn’t shocking; the nicotine found in cigarettes is highly addictive. That’s why so many people tend to fail when they try to quit without any help.
Of course, one popular quitting method is chewing nicotine gum. This allows you to get some nicotine so you don’t give into the urge to smoke. As well as this method works for some people, other people find themselves addicted to the gum once they’ve stopped smoking!
An estimated five to ten percent of people who use nicotine gum to quit smoking will end up chewing the gum way past the recommended 12-week treatment period. To avoid this outcome or break yourself of it right now, it’s important to use the gum exactly as directed.
Over the first six weeks, chew one piece of gum each hour or two. Ideally, you should chew at least nine pieces of gum daily over those first six weeks. Wait to chew the gum at about 15 minutes after you eat or drink to get the most benefit. Once you feel a tingling sensation in your mouth after the first 15 chews or so, keep the gum between your cheek and gums so your body slowly absorbs the nicotine. Once that tingling passes, chew again to get more nicotine.
During the treatment period, your need for nicotine should diminish. This means you can reduce the number of pieces you chew each day according to the schedule for your gum past that initial six-week mark. This is where a lot of people run into trouble–they don’t slowly reduce the number of pieces over time, leaving them addicted to the nicotine in the gum, which was the same thing they were addicted to in cigarettes.
Keep in mind that if you are really struggling with weaning off of nicotine, you can work with a smoking cessation group to help increase your chances of success. Some other treatment methods, such as hypnotism and acupuncture, have had some success in treating people with a nicotine addiction. Explore all the options until you find the right nicotine cessation treatment for you.