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Vaccine May Block the Effect of Nicotine

Doctors May One Day Harness the Immune System to Help People Quit Smoking

Testing a Vaccine Against Nicotine continued...

But he noted that there are already medications, such as Chantix, that work by blocking nicotine's effects. Not everyone who uses them is able to successfully quit smoking.

He says that suggests that the addiction to cigarettes goes deeper than the biological effects of nicotine.

"I think smoking is perhaps the most complicated of addictions because there are other aspects to why people have trouble quitting smoking," says Fingerhood, who reviewed the study for WebMD but was not involved in the research.

"Is it a good technique, absolutely, but I don't think it's going to be a panacea," he says. "It may be another way to help our patients."

Crystal agrees. "The caveat of the study is that humans are not just big mice. It works great in mice, but we'll have to see and eventually do a human study."

One thing he wonders about, for example, is whether people could out-smoke the vaccine.

"Could they overpower the vaccine by smoking many cigarettes? We don't know the answer to that," he says.

In research, there are many steps between testing something in mice and testing it in people. Human trials are likely to be years away.

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