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Eschew before you chew.

Researchers at the Addiction Research Center of the National Institute on Drug Abuse have found that drinking coffee and cola just before chewing nicotine gum can inhibit absorption of the nicotine through the mucous membrane of the mouth-the route by which the nicotine gets into the bloodstream and thus helps to ameliorate the symptoms of tobacco withdrawal. Moreover, the unabsorbed nicotine then goes into the stomach instead, where it can cause unpleasant side effects.

The problem, it seems, results from the fact that when saliva becomes acidic, it prevents nicotine from being absorbed in the mouth-and almost everything we eat or drink, except water, has an acidifying effect on saliva. If you are using nicotine gum (available, by the way, only by prescription), try chewing it before you eat or drink anything. If, however, you have just eaten or drunk something and need a fix," wait 15 minutes or so to give the saliva time to return to its normal, less acidic, state before chewing. Also, if you are in the habit of chewing ordinary gum with nicotine gum to improve the flavor, be sure to use sugarless gum to avoid the acidifying effect of the sugar.

If you or another smoker have trouble giving up the "evil weed," ask your doctor to prescribe nicotine gum. As we have previously noted here, small nicotine amounts can thus be released into the mouth and absorbed directly into the bloodstream, thereby decreasing the withdrawal jitters common to smokers trying to quit. As we have also noted earlier, many different approaches to the smoking problem have been employed by many different smokers. What works well for one may not work at all for another-and what may not work one time may well work when tried again. If you are still unsuccessful at quitting, keep on trying. Many excellent "help" programs are available; to find one in your community, you might try your Yellow Pages (our local pages list them under "Smokers' Information & Treatment Centers") or consult your physician.
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Title Annotation:nicotine gum and drinking coffee or cola
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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