Vaccines to combat smoking

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2008 Apr;8(4):379-83. doi: 10.1517/14712598.8.4.379.


Background: Current US FDA-approved biological therapies for treating smoking target central nervous system processes. Although these therapies have had some success, relapse within a year is still high. Clearly additional strategies are needed to aid individuals in maintaining abstinence.

Objective/methods: We briefly discuss promising research using vaccines to combat smoking and then identify some potentially important directions for future research.

Results/conclusions: Immunization with a nicotine vaccine generates drug-specific antibodies that sequester some of the nicotine in the peripheral circulation preventing it from entering the brain, thus decreasing its addictive effects. Albeit promising, much more research is necessary to identify more efficacious vaccine designs and formulations, as well as optimal immunization regimens. A further understanding of the factors contributing to the substantial individual differences in immunogenicity to these vaccines and how to best use vaccines in combination with other treatment strategies will increase the success of intervention efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / immunology*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / immunology*
  • Smoking / immunology
  • Smoking / therapy*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Vaccines*


  • Antibodies
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Vaccines
  • Nicotine