Electroencephalographic effects of nicotine chewing gum in humans

Wallace B. Pickworth, Ronald I. Herning, Jack E. Henningfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The electroencephalographic (EEG) and subjective effects of nicotine chewing gum (0, 2 and 4 mg) were compared in three tobacco deprived (12 hr) heavy smokers. EEG responses were recorded from F7, F8, T5, and T6 positions before and after the subjects chewed nicotine gum (chew rate=1 per 2 sec) for 10 min and subsequently analyzed by a computer-based data acquisition and analysis system. Analysis of the chewed gum indicated that the subjects extracted approximately 50 percent of the available nicotine. The nicotine gum increased EEG frequencies in the alpha (7.25-14 Hz) and beta (14.25-25 Hz) bands and decreased theta (4-7 Hz) power. The EEG effects were most evident in the resting subject; the effects of the gum were similar but weaker when the EEG was aroused by a mental arithmetic task. Nicotine gum had EEG stimulant effects like those of inhaled tobacco smoke which were most apparent in the relaxed subject. In spite of this similarity, the subjects did not identify the effects of the gum as being identical to those of cigarettes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)879-882
Number of pages4
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Electroencephalogram
  • Nicotine
  • Nicotine gum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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