Yup, you heard that right. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine that could prevent future smokers and help current smokers to quit.
Studies done on mice at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and recorded in the journal Science Translational Medicine by these researchers, say that they have developed a vaccine that has worked in mice to give them a lifetime’s protection in a single shot, against an addiction to nicotine.
The study’s lead investigator, Dr. Ronald G. Crystal said, “As far as we can see, the best way to treat chronic nicotine addiction from smoking is to have these Pacman-like antibodies on patrol, clearing the blood as needed before nicotine can have any biological effect.”
This way, it’s believed to be like any other vaccine which stops the action of the offending substance before it does its damage.
Researchers are planning to try this vaccine on rats next, then primates and if successful on primates, move onto humans.
“While we have only tested mice to date, we are very hopeful that this kind of vaccine strategy can finally help the millions of smokers who have tried to stop, exhausting all the methods on the market today, but find their nicotine addiction to be strong enough to overcome these current approaches,” Crystal has stated.
While it’s not exactly clear as to how this vaccine works, it appears that the vaccine causes the liver to eat up the nicotine before it has its effects on the brain and heart, which is the portion of the nicotine addiction that keeps smokers going back for more. In other words, it appears that nicotine will have no effect upon the centers of the body that keep this addiction rooted and therefore, negates the entire reason for continuing to smoke.
What this doesn’t seem to address is the withdrawal symptoms that most smokers face when trying to quit. From what can be seen about this study, without a degree in science to read the entire study, is that it breaks the dependency factor because nicotine has no effect on the portions of the body that it would normally affect. The nicotine is, in essence, non-effective.
However, while the logistics behind this appear to be sound, what isn’t sounding so secure is the fact that most smokers, trying to quit, rely upon tapering doses of either nicotine patches, gums or inhaled doses in order to ease withdrawal and craving symptoms. With the vaccine blocking all action of nicotine within the body, this will leave quitting smokers with tremendous withdrawal symptoms.
I admit that I’m a smoker who has tried to quit on many different occassions and been unsuccessful, lighting up again at first sign of stress. I’ve also been extremely irritable, anxious, edgy and bordering on needing to lock myself in a padded cell for a week, away from other human contact lest I do harm so, I cannot imagine people running around this world in that state after having gotten this vaccine.
Unless someone can tell me how it works otherwise, my understanding is that they’re going to have also give out Valium patches along with the vaccine. Otherwise, the world might be one ugly place to be once they start innoculating people.
Meanwhile, just the thought of it all right now, makes me want to light up.