So you’re ready to quit smoking – first of all, congrats. Second of all, now what?
There are plenty of nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) out there, but there’s one that’s easiest to stick with — and therefore often most effective — and that’s smoking cessation gum.
When it comes to gum meant to help you quit smoking, Nicorette™ is likely what comes to mind. But recently, nicotine gum has gotten a major facelift, with improved flavors and better support throughout the quitting process.
Zero and Lucy are the two brands leading the attack against smoking and nicotine addiction in a modern and innovative way. In this review we’ll compare Zero vs Lucy vs Nicorette to see how the two new D2C players compare to the industry standard. Before we dive in, let’s start with a quick primer on anti-smoking gums in general. If you’re short on time, skip ahead to our comparison chart.
What exactly is nicotine gum, anyway?
Nicotine gum is traditionally an over-the-counter chewing gum that is meant to replace the dose of nicotine normally found when smoking. It can contain 2mg or 4mg of nicotine and provide immediate relief to smokers who catch themselves in a craving.
Nicotine gum is a form of NRT, which means various products designed to help you quit smoking by providing a small amount of nicotine, without all the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. NRT helps curb the cravings smokers experience in the days and weeks after they quit smoking.
Depending on your smoking habits, the dose of nicotine in your gum should vary. If you’re a heavy smoker and consume your first cigarette within the first 30 minutes of waking up, you’ll typically opt for the 4mg pack. If not, 2mg is the place to start.
If you’re just starting your quitting journey, nicotine gum is a good place to start. It’s affordable, and studies have shown that 17% of smokers who used a NRT successfully quit smoking.
Who should chew nicotine gum?
Nicotine gum is meant for people who want to quit smoking, plain and simple.
Nicotine gum is not for anyone who just wants a quick hit of nicotine because they can’t get a cigarette at that moment.
It is typically designed to be taken during a period of 8 – 12 weeks as a way to support the cravings and restlessness that come when you go cold turkey on smoking. Nicotine gum is not meant to be taken while you are also smoking because of potential nicotine poisoning.
Most companies that create nicotine gum recommend pairing regular nicotine gum chewing with the support and attention of a doctor to help them fully quit.
How do you chew nicotine gum?
That might sound like a dumb question, but effectively chewing nicotine gum requires a tad more finesse than your typical bubblegum.
Once you feel the onset of a craving, chew a piece of gum slowly. You may notice a slight tingle that gets released, then park the piece between your cheek and the gum. This will ensure a full release of the nicotine dosage inside the gum. Then, repeat! Anytime the tingle fades, just chew a bit more until you no longer feel that sensation. When the tingle is gone, that means the nicotine is gone.
But don’t swallow the gum! Be careful to throw it out whenever you’re finished.
It’s typically recommended to chew 1 piece every 1-2 hours, but never more than 24 pieces in a day.
Zero vs Lucy vs Nicorette: Which nicotine gum will best help you quit?
Luckily, nicotine gum is fairly affordable and the real decision in this process will likely be as simple / complicated as picking a brand that offers the best flavor. Why? Well quitting smoking requires sticking with a new chewing gum routing for a while, so you better like the taste.
Nicotine gum comes in a variety of flavors, plans, and brands sometimes offer additional levels of smoking-cessation support. Which one is right for you? Well, let’s take a look at Zero, Lucy, and Nicorette, three brands offering different nicotine gum products.
Best D2C Anti-Smoking Gum: Zero vs Lucy vs Nicorette
|Price||Starting at $30 per month||Starting at $5, then $35 per month or $40 one time purchase||Starting at $11 (no monthly subscription)|
|Other Products||Bupropion (prescription needed)||Lozenges||Lozenges|
|Flavors||Ice Mint||MintPomegranate Cinnamon||White Ice MintFruit ChillCinnamon SurgeSpearmint BurstOriginalMint|
|Made in USA||❓||✔️||✖️|
|Nicotine Dosage Offered||2mg or 4mg||4mg||2mg or 4mg|
|Rx Treatment Plan Offered||✔️||✖️||✖️|
Now that you have a general sense of how each stacks up, let’s take a closer look at the nuances that set them apart.
Review of Zero Anti-Smoking Gum
Zero cares about your health, which is probably why they want you to quit smoking.
As part of the larger telemedicine parent company, ro, Zero is paving the way for smokers to kick their bad habits to the curb. ro is the home to brands like Roman and Rory, which both help people take control of their health using modern technology and therapies.
What sets Zero apart from the pack, however, is that in addition to nicotine gum, they can connect you with a doctor (virtually) who can prescribe bupropion. Bupropion is a drug commonly used as a smoking cessation aid by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms and can be taken alongside Zero’s nicotine gum. Thus after a required $15 online doctor visit, your doctor via Zero will create a personalized plan to help you quit smoking.
Back to the nicotine gum for a sec: Zero’s comes in doses of 2mg or 4mg of nicotine per piece. It’s sugar free and the only flavor they have is ice mint. Zero offers a subscription service that delivers a box (or two, depending on your needs) every month. Each box contains 160 pieces of gum. Their starting price is $30 per month for the first month, $42 per month thereafter, which averages out to just 25 cents per piece of gum.
It’s worth noting that Zero is also backed by U.S.-licensed physicians and medical advisors, so you can know you are in good hands when it comes to your quitting journey and overall health. Their offering doesn’t provide any new treatments, per sé — both nicotine gum and buproprion have been around forever– but their ability to package all smoking treatments into one online portal is definitely innovative.
Review of Lucy Nicotine Gum and Lozenges
Image source: Lucy
Remember Soylent? The team behind the popular meal replacement startup has a new mission: help smokers tackle their addiction with cleaner tobacco alternatives. They recently closed over $10 million in series A funding dedicated to expand their line of safe nicotine products with Lucy Goods.
Lucy offers both nicotine gum and nicotine lozenges. While the lozenges are FDA approved, they’re still waiting on approval for the nicotine gum.
Lucy’s gum comes in three different flavors:
It comes in packaging that makes it look like any type of gum you’d pick up at a convenience store. The branding is fun and modern, which matches Lucy’s goal of removing the stigmas around addiction and quitting.
Realizing that the hardest part for many people is just getting started, they make it exceedingly easy to do so. With your first month at just $5, it’s easy to try their product before committing. Once you’ve sampled all three flavors with your first shipment, you’ll get 9 packs per month for $35. Alternatively you can buy a single 9-pack for $40. If you end up finding a favorite flavor, you can choose to buy in bulk with 16, 32, or 48 packs per month, starting at $59.99 per month.
Lucy takes a bit less of a medical approach to quitting smoking and wants to provide smokers with a less intimidating, yet still effective means to ditch their habit. Unlike Zero, Lucy doesn’t have a telemedicine aspect to its offering that can connect you with a doctor for addiction treatments. All of its nicotine products are over the counter and made with zero sugar or aspartame. Their only FDA-approved smoking cessation product is their 4mg nicotine lozenges.
Lucy’s lozenges are priced at $9 for your first bottle with 27 pieces ($0.33 per lozenge). Assuming you don’t cancel your subscription — which is easy to do anytime, by the way! — you’ll pay $60/month for 5 bottles with a total of 135 pieces ($0.44 per lozenge).
Review of Nicorette for anti-smoking
Ah, the classic. We’ve all heard of Nicorette, but after all these years, is it still the industry leader?
When it comes to price, a pack of 20 sits at around $12, and a pack of 100 pieces is around $35. Like Zero, Nicorette is available in both 2mg and 4mg dosage.
Nicorette has been around for so long for a reason: it works and it’s easy to find. Many former smokers have been chewing Nicorette for upwards of 20 years and have found success in their journey of quitting smoking.
The Nicorette website also provides plenty of resources to support you in the ups and downs with quitting smoking. Their website — The Quit — is full of inspirational stories, advice, and resources for you to help you plan out “your quit.” We do love this aspect of their brand voice.
What are customers saying about these three nicotine gums?
We previously published an in-depth review of Zero — check it out if you’re curious to dive deeper. After a ton of research, I still didn’t find too many people talking about their products online, except for the happy customer testimonials on Zero’s website. The only complaint I’ve seen lodged against them was about insurance coverage, or lack thereof. Otherwise customers seem happy with their results for the most part.
Ryan Hall, who seems to know quite a bit about the vaping, and thus the nicotine world in general, has nothing but good things to say about the flavor and effectiveness of Lucy’s gum.
On the other hand, this Reddit user has had quite the opposite perspective:
“LUCY nicotine gum is NOT a better option than nicorette at this time. It tastes worse, the consistency is too hard, and the nicotine delivery is weaker.”
Overall, like with most things in healthcare, everyone’s body’s react differently to different treatments. Thus the only way to really know what will work for you to try it yourself. With only a $5 barrier to getting started, we don’t see why you wouldn’t give it a
For many long-time Nicorette users, it’s what got – and kept – them off smoking. CVS provides many reviews of the product, but Razz’s story below is pretty inspiring:
On Drugs.com, however, Nicorette scores a rating of 6.8/10 from 32 reviews, which isn’t so great. Many users feel that their gum is too expensive and just as addictive as smoking might be.
The Verdict: Zero vs Lucy vs Nicorette — So which anti-smoking gum will actually help you quit?
Quitting smoking is no easy feat. Steve Kim, MD who reviewed this post would like to chime in:
“Given all the established, known harms from smoking (such as lung cancer and emphysema), nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) is a very cost-effective way to kick the habit, and therefore instantly add several years of life expectancy to your health.”
Thus these three treatments’ overall strategy of weaning you off one destructive addiction by introducing a more mild one, is very much doctor recommended. But if you’ve come to rely on nicotine daily, stopping that habit often requires more than just chewing gum for a few hours. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you may end up needing more than a recurring gum subscription to help you quit for good.
For this reason, we don’t find Lucy’s product to be the best solution for smokers with long-term addictions to nicotine. The lack of access to a physician or really any other treatment beyond providing accessible nicotine gum is not ideal. That said, Lucy is so affordable you might as well try it. For the casual smoker – or the merely the curious one – Lucy only costs $5 to sample.
What about Nicorette? While they have remained an industry leader for decades, the personalization of their support is not quite cutting it in 2020. Customers have evolved to want more. Yes, like Lucy it’s broadly accessible, but it’s comparatively more expensive, and there are more modern options that put the customer’s experience and health more fr