Do you think it’s impossible to stop smoking? Sure, it’s hard. If you haven’t been able to quit smoking, you’re not alone. Nearly 80 to 90% of smokers are addicted to nicotine, according to the National Cancer Institute. But researchers are excited about a potential vaccine that may one day help prevent nicotine from reaching its target in the brain. And that would mean smokers would no longer get the pleasurable feeling from cigarettes – or find themselves addicted to them.
Here’s how a vaccine would work. It would create antibodies that would snatch up the nicotine from the bloodstream before it reaches the brain. Scientists have tried to make a vaccine in the past, but it didn’t work because it couldn’t create enough antibodies to get rid of all the nicotine.
A new report, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, says that scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City are now working with gene therapy to produce a nicotine antibody in the livers of mice. Once the gene was in the liver, the antibody would prevent nicotine from reaching the brain.
Researchers say it works on mice. But the technology is far from ready for human use. Who knows? One day you may replace your box of Nicorette with one trip to the doctor’s office. Learn more about how smoking affects your teeth and gums.