What if the solution to quitting smoking was tobacco?


It’s getting more expensive, it’s bad for your health, and it’s not good breathing. There are as many reasons to quit smoking as there are solutions developed in recent years. What if the miracle came from tobacco itself? On paper (or paper), the idea seems surprising. However, the solution has been validated through clinical trials by the Higher Authority for Health. But it’s not that new, as it was tested in the early 2000s from allergy extracts.

“The NFL-101 product comes from the Institut Pasteur’s desensitization treatment,” explains Dr. Yves Donazzolo, director of the Eurofins Optimed Center in Isère, which is coordinating the research across France. This extract, made from tobacco leaves, The medicine was developed for people who work in the tobacco fields and are allergic to tobacco leaves. »

A drug that works ‘like a tobacco vaccine’

The center’s chairman noted that he had “accidentally” thought of a weaning technique using the extract. “We realized that by desensitizing with this product, people have less desire to smoke and naturally reduce their consumption by at least 50%. But we don’t really know why. We just understand that there is an immune effect. »

All in all, the drugs tested work “on the same principle as tobacco vaccines,” said Dr. Yves Donazzolo. “When we injected a small amount of tobacco leaf protein – nothing else, no molecule – we found that the body produced cytokines”, explains the healthcare professional. Cytokines are substances produced by the immune system.

Has anyone volunteered for the trial?

Clinical trials must be able to verify the true effects of the drug. “Our idea was to see if the product would be of interest as a smoking cessation therapy,” said the initiators of the study. For this, you need volunteers who really want to quit smoking and who have the habit of “smoking at least eleven cigarettes a day”. “In one year, we managed to recruit 218 volunteers in ten cities in France. We had to reach more than 300 to get real statistics, because we knew we were using two different doses and a placebo,” said Gières Center the chairman explained. A second testing phase is planned later, this time involving people who don’t necessarily want to quit.

Want to participate as long as you are motivated, between the ages of 18-70, and agree to accompany for a year. Only two injections are required, but follow-up checkups and ten or so appointments occur every three months. As the Alliance Against Cancer, supported by Dr. Yves Donazzolo, notes on its website: “Without follow-up, an average of 80% of people relapse within a year of quitting smoking. »

Why this drug and not another?

Therefore, cigarette addiction is very difficult to quit. “The problem isn’t stopping, it’s not recovering,” notes the doctor, who lists different stopping solutions such as hypnosis, acupuncture, patches or other medications.

“Just like a non-addicted person, the smoker who undergoes this treatment is indifferent to the sight of a cigarette and no longer has the desire to smoke”, assures Yves Donazzolo. Before adding: “Other than a little pain when injected, there were no noticeable side effects. In France, smoking kills more than 75,000 people a year – and it’s ‘never too late’ to quit,” recalls the doctor.

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