Here is an article I came across that I found interesting. It is from a website called Go Ask Alice
which is a health oriented question and answer site provided by Columbia University.
A man wrote in for help. He got hooked on nicotine gum 12 years after he quit smoking. He even
thought about starting to smoke again to get off of the gum!
I have a very addictive personality. Fortunately, I am married and have a family and because of the added responsibility of taking care of my family I stay away from a lot of the harmful vices. However, for some stupid reason I decided to try out nicorette. I quit smoking about 12 years ago and thought I would just try out nicorette to see if I could get a buzz. Well two years later I am totally hooked on the stuff and wondering if I should start smoking/chew/patch to get off the stuff. How bad is nicorette for you and is it better than smoking?
Dear The idiot.,
Quitting smoking is no small feat, and since you've successfully quit and stayed away from cigarettes for the past twelve years, you're likely to have the same success with smoking's intended cure, nicotine replacement therapy. So no, don't start smoking again! Although nicotine is a drug, addictive like many others, nicotine gum (Nicorette), is still less harmful than smoking because there's no inhalation of tobacco smoke, or the harmful additives that go into many cigarettes.
But while Nicorette is better for you than smoking, it can have damaging side effects if taken for too long or in dosages that exceed what is recommended. Nicorette is intended to be used for a maximum of twelve weeks. Longer use is discouraged by its manufacturers, who also recommend limiting your dosage to no more than 24 pieces of 4 milligrams (mg) gum per day, or 30 pieces of 2 mg gum.
When used beyond its recommended time or amounts, nicotene gum has been shown to break down into a substance that causes abnormal cell growth, dental problems, and physical dependence. Even though you've been chewing the gum for longer than twelve weeks, you could follow Nicorette's steps for weaning yourself off the stuff. Tips to help you gradually reduce use of nicotine gum include:
Nicotine gum manufacturers recommend that if you feel the need to continue using the gum after twelve weeks, it would be wise to contact your health care provider for help with quitting. Since you've already reached that time frame, you might want to make an appointment. You could also consider Nicotine Anonymous, a 12-step group program that helps people kick the addiction. You can also read the related Q&As, which deal with nicotine addiction and withdrawal in additional detail.