A new nicotine vaccine might help smokers to quit smoking, an American biotechnology company that has developed it claims.
Nabi Biopharmaceuticals has developed 'NicVax' which the company said works by producing antibodies that specifically bind to nicotine, and thereby prevent much of the nicotine from entering the brain, reported the health portal HealthDayNews.
This process potentially reduces the pleasurable effects from smoking and reduces the addiction to nicotine, it said. The vaccine appears to be a safe, well tolerated and potentially effective aid in helping people quit smoking, the report said.
Researchers studied 68 current smokers for 38 weeks who received one of three different doses of the vaccine. They found that 38 percent of the people taking the high dose of vaccine quit smoking for at least 30 days.
"This result was an impressive and completely unexpected study," researcher Dorothy Hatsukami said.
However he said, "more research is required to answer a number of questions about the vaccine, including how long it remains effective in smokers and whether it can be used to help prevent relapses in people who have quit smoking."
According to a study that appeared last year in the online edition of New Scientist, smoking wipes 10 years off a person's life on an average but giving up at any age brings huge benefits.
Quitting at 30 virtually eliminates the risk from dying prematurely and giving up at 50 halves it. But half of those who fail to kick the habit will die as a result of smoking, and a quarter of all smokers die in middle age.