Every cigarette shortens your life by 11 minutes. So, start counting or stop smoking. Easier said than done, you will say. There are hundreds of different products on the market trying to help people to stop smoking. Most of them do not work. The latest research by the scientists from the Weill Cornell Medical College offers finally a ray of hope. They found a potential vaccine, so far tested on mice only, that may prove to be a perfect tool to help you finally quit.
How would the vaccine work?
What scientists did was to introduce an agent that entices our own body’s immune system to produce anti-nicotine antibodies. The antibodies bind to nicotine in the bloodstream, just like with any other pathogen that is invading the body. Because it is bound to an antibody, the nicotine cannot enter the brain where it normally creates a sense of pleasure. Smoking without pleasure would be much easier to quit. The way the scientists describe this process is like a packman in the computer game, running through our system gobbling up nicotine particles.
The authors of the latest study believe that a singe dose of the vaccine would be enough to kill the addiction to nicotine for lifetime. They published their findings in June 2012 in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Not just yet
The theory sounds very promising, but the latest attempts to make the vaccine failed. As reported in the New York Times, Nabi Biopharmaceuticals recently tested a vaccine working on the similar principle as the one tested by the researchers from the Cornell University. The late stage of the trial shows that only 11 percents of tested people stopped smoking after a year, the same number of people who took placebo. Researchers are analyzing their data to see what went wrong and are very surprised with the failed trials.
Hopefully scientists will find a way to overcome obstacles and create the way to make people stop smoking. At the moment, according to the CDC, 443,000 people die every year from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking is considered the most preventable cause of death in the United States.
Just a reminder
- Cigarettes contain more than 4000 chemical compounds and more than 400 toxic substances.
- Tar from burning tobacco is a carcinogen -it causes cancer
- Nicotine increases cholesterol levels in your body
- Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke reduces oxygen in the body
- Some components of tobacco smoke and smoke ash cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).