Nicotine Inhaler

See FDA package insert for more complete information

Nicotine inhaler is available through prescription only. It consists of a mouthpiece and a cartridge. The cartridge contains 10 mg of nicotine. A dose is a puff or inhalation. The initial dosage is typically 1-2 doses per hour. Recommended dosage is a minimum of 8 doses and maximum of 40 doses per day. Recommended duration of use is up to 6 months, tapering during the final 3 months.

How Well Does It Work?

The nicotine inhaler approximately doubles long term abstinence rates in comparison to placebo.



  • Cardiovascular disease: Nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), such as nicotine gum, have not been proven to increase the risk of having a heart attack, but should be used with caution in people who have had a heart attack within 2 weeks. The gum also might not be right for you if you have a history of coronary heart disease, serious arrhythmias, or vasospastic diseases.

  • Pregnant or nursing women: If you are pregnant or nursing, you should consult your doctor. Pregnant women are encouraged to quit without medication. It is most important that you quit smoking. The nicotine inhaler has not been shown to be effective in treating tobacco dependence in pregnant smokers and it has not been evaluated in breastfeeding patients. The risks of such drugs to unborn children are not fully known. Seeking intensive counseling support in your quit attempt is a good idea.

  • The inhaler might not be right for you if you have bronchospastic disease.

  • The inhaler might not be right for you if you have active peptic ulcers.

  • The inhaler might not be right for you if you have hyperthyroidism or insulin-dependent diabetes.

  • The inhaler might not be right for you if you have malignant hypertension.

Side Effects

  • Irritations in the mouth and throat

  • Coughing

  • Rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal mucous membranes)

  • Nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, cold sweat, pallor, and weakness are all symptoms of an overdose.

How Do I Take This Medication?

  • You should completely quit smoking before you start using the inhaler.

  • Temperatures under 40o F severely limit the effectiveness of the inhaler.

  • Gradual reduction in use is recommended over the last 3 to 6 months.

  • Coffee, juices, and soft drinks are all acidic beverages and should be avoided 15 minutes before and during inhalation. These products interfere with the absorption of nicotine in the lining of your mouth.

  • For maximum benefit, you should puff frequently using at least 8 cartridges/day. Follow your doctor's directions exactly.

(Fiore et al., 2008; PDR, 2001; Schneider et al., 1996; Slotkin, 1998)

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