Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorIf you’ve tried to quit smoking, you may have tried to:

Chew some nicotine gum…

Slap on a nicotine patch…

Or suck on nicotine lozenges.

The problem, though, is how long can you safely use these products?

The labels say 12 weeks. No More. And by all means — don’t combine it with a cigarette as you try to avoid withdrawal. At least the labels say that.

The problem is some people need more time than that. And does sneaking a smoke when you’re wearing a patch kill you?

The FDA has “re-thunk” its position on all of this — saying Monday that you can use these products for longer than 12 weeks, and that it’s not against the rules to light up occasionally as you quit.

However, the FDA didn’t say much more. No firm recommendation on how much past 12 weeks is safe — I mean, is 12 years too long? Plus, how many cigs can you puff while wearing a patch or chewing the gum? No recommendation.

Simply, the new advice: Check with your doctor on a firm plan to quit.

So, all in all, I suppose that’s good. These products do help people kick the habit– some just take longer than others.

Are you really going to plan this out with your doc? If so — great!

If not– and I’m sure most of you fall into this category since these products are OTC and you’re not going to spend the dough for a doctor’s visit — is to come up with your own plan.

Pull out a calendar. Pull out your smartphone. Write or type in specifically when you are going to quit. Or at which week you will cut to x number of cigarettes and x pieces of gum. Then gradually wean down.

You need a plan. You need a firm quit date. You need a pattern written out with solid stick-to numbers.

You  now have a little more time and a little more leeway.

Just do it.

RELATED: Colorado Quitline


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