Physical dependence on nicotine gum: effect of duration of use

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1993;111(4):449-56. doi: 10.1007/BF02253535.


This study examined whether longer duration on nicotine gum promoted dependence on nicotine gum. Subjects (N = 128) answering an advertisement for smoking cessation research and wanting to quit smoking cigarettes were randomly assigned to 1- or 3-month duration of nicotine gum use. Assessments were made weekly for smoking status (with biochemical verification) and withdrawal symptoms during and at the end of treatment. Follow-up was conducted at 1, 6 and 12 months to provide exploratory data on treatment outcome. The results showed minimal nicotine gum withdrawal symptoms after gum cessation with virtually no difference in gum withdrawal between the 1- and 3-month groups. Withdrawal symptoms from the nicotine gum included difficulty with concentration, increased variability on a reaction time task, and decreased vigor. The results also showed that continuous use of the gum at 1 year was observed in 1.5% of subjects and estimated to be as high as 14%. Finally, the 3-month group experienced a 2-fold increase in abstinence compared to the 1-month group, although this difference was not statistically significant. We conclude that there is minimal physical dependence on nicotine gum.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Chewing Gum
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Intake / drug effects
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Nicotine / therapeutic use
  • Smoking / drug therapy
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Chewing Gum
  • Nicotine