Nicotine is available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting smoking, including nicotine craving. It may be written as nicotine or nicotine polacrilex, which are different forms of the same basic ingredient.

Nicotine and nicotine polacrilex are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are safe when used as directed. They have been found to be most effective when a smoker who wants to quit completes the program as recommended on the product labeling. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, try to quit smoking on your own. You should only use quit-smoking products containing nicotine or nicotine polacrilex at the advice of a healthcare provider. While smoking cessation products are believed to be safer than smoking, the risks to your child are not fully known.

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  • You have completed the complete smoking cessation program and still feel the need to use a smoking cessation product.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You had a recent heart attack or have heart disease or an irregular heartbeat.
  • You have high blood pressure that is not controlled with medicines.
  • You are using a non-nicotine stop smoking medicine.
  • You are taking a prescription medicine for depression or asthma.
  • You continue to smoke, chew tobacco, use snuff, or use a nicotine gum or other nicotine-containing product.
  • You are using a patch and develop skin redness that does not go away after four days, your skin swells, or you get a rash.
  • You experience mouth problems or severe sore throat while using a lozenge or gum.
  • You have an irregular heartbeat or palpitations.
  • You get symptoms of nicotine overdose such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, and rapid heartbeat
  • You take too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.
  • If you are using a smoking cessation patch, take special care to discard the product safely. Used patches have enough nicotine to poison children and pets.
  • If you need to remove a lozenge or gum from your mouth, dispose of it safely away from children and pets.
  • If a child or pet accidentally swallows a discarded patch or other smoking cessation product, immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.
  • Click here for more information on giving OTCs to children.