*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*
Ok, we knew it was bubbling away in the cauldron somewhere, the demented brainchild of one pharma giant or another, but now we’re at the pre-hype stage where the suggestion first appears in the press that there is a new ‘scientific’ way to stop smoking. Never mind that they said that about Zyban, which turned out to have a lousy 13% success rate, and then they said it about Champix/Chantix, which fares little better but kills and hospitalises smokers far too often to be tolerated. Just forget about that – NOW we’re working on something totally, totally new!
It’s a jab, and according to Richard Alleyne, writing in The Telegraph yesterday: “Just one injection could provide lifelong protection from the cravings of nicotine and prevent the physical effects of smoking such as relaxation and lowering of the heart rate.”
Er, excuse me – cravings are nothing to do with nicotine, and anyway, nicotine RAISES heart-rate and blood pressure. The notion that smoking relaxes people is a myth. It causes heart attacks and strokes, for Christ’s sake. It gets worse:
“It could be used to “vaccinate” children from ever smoking and help smokers to quit. Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York have tested the vaccine on mice but could soon start human trials.”
“Scientists”? Or researchers working for the company with the patent? Are they working with smoking mice or non-smoking mice? Or do they give it to the children of smoking mice to see if they don’t start smoking themselves, as adolescent mice? Look! It works! NONE OF THEM started smoking! This isn’t science, folks, it is an attempt to fake a trial that will get this stupid vaccine rolled out not just to smokers everywhere (Ch-ching!) but to all children everywhere to “prevent them ever starting to smoke”. That’s a vaccine for everyone, repeated every generation, and “proved effective” by the natural decline of tobacco which has been going on since records began.
This next bit is factually incorrect:
“Mice which had been given the jab stayed just as active as previously, while those not administered with the vaccine relaxed and their blood pressure and heart activity lowered – classic signs nicotine had reached the brain.”
This is completely false, unless of course mice react to nicotine differently from humans, in which case the whole exercise is pointless. In people, nicotine increases both blood pressure and heart rate. Smokers generally do not know this, because the fact that they usually smoke at moments of repose or recreation gives them the false impression that smoking relaxes them, when in fact they are simply smoking at the same time as they are at play, winding down or socialising. So why is this bullshit appearing in The Telegraph?
But here’s the creepy bit:
“The vaccine works by genetically engineering an antibody that filters out nicotine when it enters the blood. The body then replicates the antibody – creating a never-ending supply of immunity.”
This is genetic engineering.
“Dr Ronald Crystal, professor of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and research leader said the jab could help committed quitters beat physical nicotine cravings. He said: “They 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”.
Forgive me, but Dr Ronald Crystal is a numpty. An idiot. Champix was supposed to work by stopping smokers from getting pleasure from nicotine, but no-one gets pleasure from nicotine anyway. Try putting a nicotine patch on, or chewing the gum. What was your first cigarette like? No-one abuses nicotine replacement products because there is no pleasure to be had from them. No-one wants them, go into any pub and try giving nicotine patches away. Offer the gum around. See if you can get anyone to try it. If they do, ask them how much pleasure they’re getting out of that nicotine, there? Get them to score the experience on a scale of 1 to 10, then ask them if they would need a vaccine to help them resist the pleasure of nought-to-one?
There IS no pleasure in smoking. Our first cigarette taught us that. Later on, when we are accustomed to smoking, the ‘pleasure’ is in the moment, it isn’t coming from the cigarette!
“Dr Crystal said: “As far as we can see, the best way to treat chronic nicotine addiction from smoking is to have these Pacman-like antibodies on patrol, clearing the blood as needed before nicotine can have any biological effect. Our vaccine allows the body to make its own monoclonal antibodies against nicotine, and in that way, develop a workable immunity.”
That’s as far as you can see, is it? “Pacman-like antibodies on patrol”? Do you think we’re children? ‘Immunity’ to what? Nicotine? Nicotine is a deadly poison. Nobody smokes for the effects of nicotine. Ask any smoker: If nicotine is a drug, and you are smoking for its effects, WHAT ARE THEY? What are the effects of nicotine?
I’ve asked thousands of smokers individually, and they don’t know. Neither does Dr. Crystal, evidently. He seems to think relaxation and a lower heart rate are “classic signs” of the effects of nicotine! Epic fail, there, Doc!
“Dr Crystal says the vaccine could be rolled out to non-smokers to prevent them starting in the first place, just as jabs are used to prevent infections. He added: “Just as parents decide to give their children an HPV vaccine, they might decide to use a nicotine vaccine.”
There you go. The aim of this exercise is to get parents to give their children a vaccine that genetically engineers their body to clone antibodies against something they might never find appealing in the first place, with unforseeable results. But we have Zyban and Champix as precursors to this which demonstrate just how greedy, dishonest, stupid and damaging these business enterprises can turn out to be. This is not science.