Vaccine Could Prevent Nicotine Addiction In Teens
Should teenagers be given a vaccine that blocks the effects of nicotine so they could never become addicted to cigarettes?
In Monday's Connecting With Kids, NewsChannel5's Tonya Strong reported that might soon be an option.
Steven Edwards, 18, said he first picked up a cigarette at age 9. Now, he's trying to put them down.
"When I smoke, it's like your body just can't take it, but your mind is telling you to keep smoking," he said.
Edwards admits that he's addicted to the nicotine.
"You just have the need to just smoke a cigarette to calm down sometimes," he said.
But new drugs now being tested may help him quit. So-called nicotine vaccines claim to block the body's ability to process nicotine.
"It is an innovative new way of approaching the problem," said Dr. Corinne Husten, a medical officer with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention ( news - web sites).
The theory is that if you don't get the effects of nicotine, then why would a person smoke? But experts warn that even if the vaccines are proved to be safe, they won't stop some kids.
"A lot of times when you're 12 or 13 years old, it's not the nicotine at all," Danielle Hudson, 18, said. "It's just the cigarette. 'Hey dude, I can smoke a cigarette -- I'm cool.'"
"Yeah, like just they want people to see that they're doing it," Buddy Sherlock, 14, said. "They think, 'Wow, (I'm) old' or something."
Experts also worry that a nicotine vaccine would give beginning smokers a kind of false sense of security.
"If kids think, 'Oh, it's safe for me to smoke because this will keep me from becoming addicted,' you actually could end up ultimately with more kids smoking and addicted than if you didn't have the vaccine," Husten said.
Experts said that the best antismoking device will always be parents, who need to make sure that their kids know that smoking is dangerous and unacceptable.
The earliest that the nicotine vaccines would be on the market is 2006, NewsChannel5 reported.
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