Flavor improvement does not increase abuse liability of nicotine chewing gum

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2002 Jun;72(3):559-68. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(02)00723-2.


Because the taste of nicotine gum has impeded compliance with dosing recommendations, nicotine gum with improved taste (mint, orange) was developed and marketed. Prior to marketing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) required a rigorous abuse liability assessment to examine whether enhanced palatability of nicotine gum would increase its abuse liability. Subjective, physiological, and psychomotor effects of mint flavor and original nicotine gum were tested in adult smokers (22-55 years old); a group of younger subjects (18-21 years old) was also included to allow for assessment of abuse liability in young adults specifically. Amphetamine and confectionery gum served as positive controls for abuse liability and palatability. Subjects rated palatability of mint gum higher than original nicotine gum, but substantially lower than confectionery gum. Palatability decreased with increasing dose of nicotine. Neither original nor mint gum increased ratings of traditional abuse liability predictors [Good Effect, Like Effect, Morphine-Benzedrine Group (MBG) scales of Addiction Research Center Inventory (ARCI)], while amphetamine increased ratings of all these measures. Both flavors of nicotine gum decreased craving during 2 h of abstinence. These effects were more pronounced in the adult group and mint gum was more effective than original gum. Younger subjects reported fewer withdrawal symptoms and lower ratings for drug effects and flavor. Improved flavor of nicotine gum does not increase abuse liability, but may be associated with enhanced craving reduction.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Behavior, Addictive* / drug therapy
  • Behavior, Addictive* / psychology
  • Chewing Gum*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mentha
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / pharmacology*
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use
  • Smoking / drug therapy
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Taste*


  • Chewing Gum
  • Nicotine