Nicotine vaccine? It seems addicts would love one!
Posted Apr 01 2010 12:00am
Okay, so there’s no vaccine for nicotine yet, but if researchers ever find one (like they did for cocaine ), this recent study by a group at the University of Pennsylvania suggests that smokers are ready and willing. In fact, more than half of them were biting at the bit!
In case you’re wondering (and don’t feel like reading), the vaccine would work by producing nicotine antibodies in the vaccinated individuals. Those antibodies would attach to any nicotine in the blood and prevent it from doing its thing (binding to nicotinic Ach receptors) thereby making smoking, well… boring. Hopefully, when smokers stop feeling the effect, they’ll stop smoking. Or that’s the thinking behind the whole idea anyway. Given other research that shows that nicotine smoking leads to some pretty strong contextual associations (read: “the environment and other associated stimuli become very rewarding”), I doubt whether the vaccine would work as well as people hope.