Pharmacy Corner
Smoking Cessation: The Road to Quitting with NRT Gums, lozenges, inhalers and sprays

Short acting NRT quickly delivers nicotine into your body and helps with the intense craving for a cigarette. However, its effect in the body does not last for a long period of time. The short acting forms of NRT include: gum, lozenge, inhaler and oral spray.2,3,4,5


The NRT gum contains nicotine that is absorbed through your cheek. It is important to know that the NRT gum should not be chewed like ordinary gum. Use the “bite-park” method. Bite the gum once or twice, then place it (“park it”) in between your cheek and your gums. After waiting about one minute, repeat this sequence. All of the medication is released from the piece of gum after about 30 minutes chewing.


The NRT lozenge contains nicotine that is absorbed through the lining of your mouth. Place one lozenge in your mouth and allow it to dissolve slowly. Every so often, move the lozenge from one side of your mouth to the other, but make sure that you do not chew or swallow it whole.



It usually takes about 30 minutes before the gum or the lozenge start to work. If possible, plan ahead of your cravings. Consider this:

  • If you know that you will likely have a craving for a cigarette during your lunch break, chew on a piece of gum or use a lozenge 30 minutes before your break.

It is also important not to eat or drink while you are using the gum or lozenge therapy.


Since most of the nicotine is not delivered into your body through the lungs like in cigarettes, it should be puffed very lightly in short breaths or inhaled deeply into the back of your throat. In this way, the nicotine vapour is mostly absorbed through your mouth, throat and stomach. It is important to clean the inhaler regularly with soap and water for best results. Cleaning instructions are included in the package insert of your inhaler.

Oral sprays

The oral spray releases a mist into your mouth which allows the nicotine to be absorbed through your mouth. Hold the dispenser as close to your mouth as possible without spraying onto your lips or into your throat. Make sure that you do not inhale while you are spraying and that you spray directly into your mouth. For best results, it is important not to swallow for a few seconds after spraying.

A couple of sprays can reduce your cigarette cravings in as little as 60 seconds!



It is important to avoid drinking acidic beverages (i.e. coffee, tea, soft drinks, alcohol, and citrus juices) about 15 minutes before and 15 minutes after using the gum, lozenge, inhaler or oral spray, as they can make them not work as well.