Like the patch, you can purchase nicotine gum at the drugstore without a prescription. And like the patch, you may find that it is covered by insurance—look into what your plan offers.
Nicotine gum is sold in two doses, 2 mg and 4 mg. To determine which level you should buy, count each cigarette you smoke as 1 mg. If are a pack-a-day or more smoker, you will definitely want the stronger stuff—the 4 mg gum. With each piece of 2 mg gum, you absorb 1 mg of nicotine, the same as found in one cigarette. With each piece of 4 mg gum, you absorb 2 mg of nicotine, the same as found in 2 cigarettes.
You do not chew the gum like regular gum. Instead, chew it a few times until there is a peppery taste, which means the nicotine is being released. Then stop chewing and "park" it between your cheek and gums. Regular use is more effective than using it just as needed, but both are helpful.
Taper off use of the gum as you feel more successful and confident over two to three months. Acidic beverages like coffee, tea, citrus juices and sodas will inactivate nicotine being released in the mouth, so avoid them for 15 minutes before and at time of using the gum.
The most common side effect is nausea, usually caused by incorrect chewing. Discuss any side effects with your doctor.