Good News: The FDA Says It Won't Kill You to Chew Nicotine Gum and Smoke a Cigarette At the Same Time


Health Tap

Do you like nicotine? Then the Food and Drug Administration has some good news for you! No, seriously: Yesterday the FDA announced that it's not a huge deal if you use a smoking cessation aid (or "nicotine replacement therapy," in the FDA's words) for longer than the recommended period, nor is it a big deal if you use a smoking cessation aid and smoke a cigarette at the same time. 

Years of clinical research, the FDA says, have shown that "some warnings and limitations specified in the directions for use on the labels of these products are no longer necessary to make sure they are used safely and effectively to quit smoking." To that end

FDA is allowing the companies who make these OTC products to make several changes to the warnings and limitations in the directions for use on their labels to allow some flexibility on how they are used and for how long. These changes mean the following for consumers:

– There are no significant safety concerns associated with using more than one OTC NRT at the same time, or using an OTC NRT at the same time as another nicotine-containing product—including a cigarette. If you are using an OTC NRT while trying to quit smoking but slip up and have a cigarette, you should not stop using the NRT. You should keep using the OTC NRT and keep trying to quit.

– NRT users should still pick a day to quit smoking, and begin using the OTC NRT product on their "quit" day, even if they aren't immediately able to stop smoking.

– Users of NRT products should still use the product for the length of time indicated in the label—for example, 8, 10 or 12 weeks. However, if they feel they need to continue using the product for longer in order to quit, it is safe to do so in most cases. Consumers are advised to consult their health care professional if they feel the need to use an OTC NRT for longer than the time period recommended in the label.

None of this is news to folks who heretofore have, for reasons of both pleasure and weakness of will, mixed a fresh piece of Nicorette with a Parliament, or used Nicorette forever and ever. Writing on his blog, Reason contributor Jacob Grier calls the FDA's announcement a "sensible move," and wonders what it might mean for e-cigarettes

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  1. Worked with a lady in her late forties who got the transdermal patch. Kicked the bucket inside of two weeks. She was obese, smoked for thirty plus years, so who is to say if it was even a contributing factor. But, no thanks, I was able to quit without any crutches and suspect most of the addiction lingo is an exaggeration of mental states committed by drama queens, aka the weak.

  2. Anyone who has ever dipped snuff while smoking cigarettes knew the warning about mixing Nicorette and cigarettes was a crock of shit.

  3. I had a coworker who wore the patch and smoked at the same time. Tiny little gal. Damn near killed her. Her heart started beating like crazy. Way back when I took physiology in college, we scrambled the brains of live frogs, leaving them in a sort of comatose state, then opened up their chests and dripped various liquids onto their beating hearts and measured the results. A nicotine solution really got their little hearts going.

  4. I mean the thing about smoking something is you have a lot of dosing control. It’s not like you can’t just make yourself sick chain-smoking like a maniac anyway, and it’s not like you don’t feel that you are getting fucked up if you have too much nicotine with plenty of time to cool it down.

  5. Hey,

    This is very informative article. Its also gives us an idea of how FDA functions. I m sure you can also find this interesting

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