Nicotine gum was developed to help people quit smoking completely. It is a hard gum that contains 2-4 mg of nicotine in each gum, which is equivalent to 1-2 cigarettes. It can be chewed for 15 minutes, before or after eating. You chew it until you get a peppery taste or tingling sensation, then rest it between your cheeks and gums, until you need to chew again. The nicotine is absorbed in the bloodstream. But, like everything, nicotine gum also has side effects.
Side Effects Of Nicotine Gum
“Common side effects of using nicotine gum include hiccups, sore mouth, headache, indigestion, & nausea.”
Nicotine gum can certainly help you get rid of your smoking habit, but it can have some adverse effects while doing so. Most of the immediate effects are non-threatening, but can cause considerable discomfort. To minimize the risk of any ill effects, use these nicotine cessation products strictly as instructed.
The short term side effects of nicotine gum include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, hiccups, upset stomach, diarrhea, rash, blisters or sores in the mouth. If you swallow nicotine or chew the gum too fast, it can lead to stomach and jaw discomfort. The gum can also stick to and damage your dentures and dental work.
If your heart starts racing or beating irregularly, stop using the gum and seek medical assistance immediately.
Long Term Health Risks
“Long term health risks include respiratory problems, seizures, & increased risk of stroke.”
The most serious and possibly biggest risk from nicotine gum use is accidental poisoning or overdose from nicotine. The risk is very real, as many smokers tend to smoke in addition to chewing nicotine gum. The excess nicotine poses a serious health risk, with initial symptoms like nausea, headaches, muscle fasciculations, and seizures. This is followed by more serious threats like respiratory failure, coma, or paralysis.
Long term use of nicotine gum can cause muscle weakness in the throat and leads to chronic hiccups, a feeling like the throat is closing up and irritation. Nicotine in any form can also lead to a greater risk of heart disease, and may contribute to throat, mouth and esophageal cancers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and stroke.
Pregnant women should stay away from nicotine gum as this increases the risk of birth defects, especially if consumed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Nicotine gum is also highly toxic to children and should be kept safely out of reach.
Additionally, talk to your doctor if you’ve ever had heart problems, high blood pressure, ulcers, an overactive thyroid, or any dental work. As advised on the labels, do not consume nicotine gum for more than six months. If you have a serious addiction, you can slowly lower the dosage, and the frequency at which you have the gum.
Despite the risks, nicotine gum is the lesser of two evils, as it can help you quit smoking. Unlike smoking, chewing nicotine gum will not expose you to tar and carbon monoxide, the most toxic chemicals, in cigarettes. However, as you now know the risks of improper use of nicotine gum, make sure to exercise caution when using such products.
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