A nicotine inhaler looks like a cigarette. It has a cartridge that
contains nicotine. You inhale, and nicotine vapor is absorbed into your mouth
and throat area. You don't absorb the nicotine into your lungs like you do with
a cigarette. As a result, you don't get the same "hit" of nicotine as with
Nicotine inhalers are available only by prescription.
You may find a nicotine inhaler helpful if you have trouble breaking
free from smoking rituals, such as pulling a cigarette out of the pack,
lighting it, putting it in your mouth, and inhaling.
The inhaler does not deliver nicotine as rapidly as a cigarette. The
risk of addiction, or of transferring your nicotine habit from cigarettes to
the inhaler, is low.
How to use a nicotine inhaler
Do not begin to use an inhaler until you have stopped
A nicotine inhaler kit comes with a nicotine inhaler and cartridges
containing nicotine. You place a cartridge into the inhaler and pierce the
cartridge to release the nicotine.
When you feel the urge to smoke, hold the
inhaler between your fingers and draw on it as you would a cigarette. It takes
many more puffs to get an effect, about 3 to 4 times more puffs than when you
smoke a cigarette.
Replace the cartridge after about 20 minutes of active puffing.
Puffing on the inhaler for 5 minutes at a time will give you enough nicotine
for four uses before the cartridge is empty.
Dispose of empty
nicotine cartridges carefully. An empty cartridge still contains enough
nicotine to make a child or pet very sick.
Clean the mouthpiece
regularly with soap and water.
Do not use a nicotine inhaler for
more than 6 months.
Other important guidelines for using an inhaler
Use the nicotine inhaler longer and more often
at first. In a few days you will find what works best for you.
people use 6 to 10 cartridges a day. Your doctor may adjust the number of
inhaler cartridges you get during the first weeks. Do not use more than 16
cartridges each day unless your doctor tells you to do so.
body adjusts to not smoking, your doctor will tell you either to stop using the
inhaler or to slowly reduce the dose.
Inhalers are usually used for
about 12 weeks and then use is slowly decreased (tapered
Avoid drinking beverages, especially acidic ones (such as
coffee, juices, and soda pop), for 15 minutes before and after you use the
inhaler. They will wash the nicotine into your stomach instead of allowing it
to absorb through your mouth.
The inhaler does not work properly in
temperatures below 50°F (10°C),
so it may not be a good choice if you plan to use it outside during winter
months in a cold climate.
It is possible to become dependent on the nicotine inhaler, but this
There are side effects from using the nicotine inhaler. Read the
package insert before you use an inhaler.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.