FDA says longer use of nicotine products is OK

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Nicotine patch on arm. (AP Photo)

Nicotine patch on arm. (AP Photo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Food and Drug Administration says smokers that are trying to quit can safely use nicotine gum, patches and lozenges for longer than previously recommended.

Current labels suggest consumers stop smoking when they begin using the products and that they should stop using them after 12 weeks.

The federal agency said Monday that the makers of gum and other nicotine replacement products can change the labels that say not to smoke when using the products. The FDA also said the companies can let consumers know that they can use the products for longer periods as part of a plan to quit smoking, as long as they are talking to their doctor.

More than 45 million Americans smoke cigarettes and about half try to quit every year.

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