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Nicotine vaccination in development to help smokers kick the habit

Published on 28/06/2012

Smokers usually end up paying higher premiums on their insurance than non-smokers- particularly with health insurance, life insurance and income protection insurance. But scientists say that smokers could one day be immunised against nicotine so that they gain no pleasure from the habit.

Smoking vaccination in development

Researchers in the US have produced a vaccine that kills nicotine as it enters the body. Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College have tested the vaccine on mice, and have shown that the vaccination can reduce levels of nicotine by 85 per cent.

Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, researchers injected a genetically modified virus into the mice. The virus contained instructions for their livers to make nicotine antibodies.

After injecting all the mice with nicotine, the scientists compared the amount of nicotine in the brains of normal mice with those that had been immunised. They found that the vaccinated mice had nicotine levels 85 per cent lower.

Lead researcher Professor Ronald Crystal said that if such a vaccine could be developed then people "will know if they start smoking again, they will receive no pleasure from it due to the nicotine vaccine, and that can help them kick the habit".

Whilst experts are pleased with the results, they are not yet sure if it could be repeated in humans, or if it will help them quit smoking. Many more years of research are needed before it can be tested on people.

In the meantime, quitting smoking will significantly lower your premiums when looking at insurance- to be considered a non-smoker you have to have gone 12 months tobacco free. If you already have a policy and have quit smoking then you may be able to reduce your premiums.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012

Categories:  Medical
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