Nicotine gum is available in two strengths: 2 mg and 4 mg. If you smoke fewer than 25 cigarettes per day should, use the 2 mg gum; if you smoke more, the 4 mg gum is recommended. It is also recommended that you use the 4 mg dose if you smoke your first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up.
Some people use the gum when needed. However, most people do best using one piece every 1 to 2 hours on a schedule in the first 6 weeks but never exceeding 24 pieces a day.
It makes sense to use nicotine on a regular basis to keep some in your blood at all times. Since most cravings last only about 5 minutes, the opportunity to chew nicotine gum and get levels high enough to work might be lost.
On the other hand, some people know what “triggers” the desire to smoke. It might be when they get in their car, or when they have a drink, or while watching sports with friends. The point is they know in advance when they will need some nicotine and can start using it well in advance.
Typically, life is a good deal more complicated, which is why continued use of gum works better—at least in the first few months.