A new vaccine creates antibodies that block nicotine's pathway to the brain.
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Jennifer Matthews: Wayne Thompson has been lighting up for 35 years, but with two new grandchildren on the way, he says he's ready to quit. Wayne Thompson: With the grandbabies coming, I don't want to be subjecting them to second-hand smoke. Jennifer Matthews: Wayne enrolled in a study on a vaccine that could help him quit. It's one of few smoking vaccines to make it to human trials. For the study, Wayne will get eight shots and answer questions about his experience. Wayne Thompson: Did it reduce your hunger for food? Did it make you nauseous? Did it make you less irritable? Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Dorothy Hatsukami says the vaccine stimulates the immune system to make antibodies that stop nicotine in its tracks. Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami: These antibodies actually attach themselves to the nicotine molecules, and this complex is so large it can't pass thru the blood/brain barrier, and so this nicotine cannot get into the brain. Jennifer Matthews: Since nicotine cannot reach the brain, smokers don't experience its pleasurable effects. The goal is to make smokers lose interest in smoking. Dr. Dorothy Hatsukami: So it just becomes like smoking a cigarette that has no nicotine in it. Jennifer Matthews: Some smokers in the study will receive the vaccine, while others will get a placebo. Wayne says he hasn't yet noticed a difference, but he believes the vaccine is a step in the right direction. Still, he knows the decision to quit is up to him. Wayne Thompson: You've got to make the determination yourself. You've got to say, 'I am going to do it.' Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.