One of the main dangers associated with the use of nicotine gum is that it may be addictive, states WebMD. As of 2002, approximately 1.5 to 2 million Americans use nicotine gum to help treat their cigarette smoking addiction, and about 5 to 9 percent of this group continue to use the nicotine gum for longer than the recommended treatment period of three months. A large portion of this group continues to use nicotine gum for six months or more.
Although there is the risk of becoming addicted to nicotine gum, it is relatively safe compared to chronic use of cigarettes. Nicotine gum is significantly less harmful than cigarettes because it lacks the cancer-causing agents in cigarettes and because it introduces nicotine to the bloodstream at a slower rate through the mucous membranes, according to WebMD. There appear to be no long-term heart complications or vascular risks associated to nicotine gum use. The withdrawal symptoms that occur when nicotine gum use ceases include difficulty concentrating, headaches, irritability and depression.
In addition to the risk of addiction, there are a number of side effects associated with the use of nicotine gum. These side effects include increased heart rate or blood pressure, pain or irritation in the mouth, and nausea according to MedicineNet. These side effects are a concern for individuals who have high blood pressure or who take heart medications.