Did you know? - Nicotine Dependence Program

Read below for more facts on nicotine replacement therapy from the UNC Nicotine Dependence Program.

1. How do you decide which milligram patch to use?

  • If a patient smokes fewer than 10 cigarettes/day, use either 7-mg or 14-mg patch
  • If a patient smokes between 10-20 cigarettes/day, use a 14-mg or 21-mg patch and combine with a short-acting NRT like gum or lozenge
  • If a patient smokes 21 or more cigarettes/day, use 21 mg plus additional 7-, 14- or 21-mg patch, depending on number of cigarettes smoked, and combined with short-acting NRT

2. What is the proper way to chew nicotine gum?

  • Chew the gum slowly
  • When the peppery taste or tingling sensation begins, "park" in cheek; nicotine is absorbed through the lining of the mouth
  • When tingling goes away, begin chewing again
  • Avoid eating or drinking for 15 minutes before and during use

3. How do you use the lozenge?

  • Allow the lozenge to dissolve slowly in mouth--between the cheek and gum is a good place
  • Do not chew or swallow, as absorption will be decreased and increases side effects like nausea or hiccups
  • Occasionally rotate to different areas of the mouth
  • Avoid eating or drinking for 15 minutes before and during use

Look for the following Q&As related to NRT in future issues of Employee News Online:

  1. What is the proper use of the inhaler?
  2. What happens if a patient smokes while wearing the patch?
  3. What about the electronic cigarette?

Remember that tobacco cessation consults can be ordered for inpatients through CPOE. If you have any other questions, contact either:


  • Barbara J. Silver, MA, CTTS                                              
    Tobacco Treatment Specialist
    UNC Nicotine Dependence Program
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