May 16, 2005


K said...

If you're going to take a "take your vitamins pill," shouldn't you just skip that step and take a vitamin?

K said...

"Dr. Jacques Cornuz of Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Lausanne, Switzerland, who presented the findings, said the vaccine reduces the amount and rate of nicotine entering the brain. This interferes with the "reward" system of the brain and reduces the incentive to keep puffing."

I don't know where you found that rationale you cite for the study - perhaps I did not read the Forbes article carefully enough. It's a plausible rationale, one that you could fairly infer without an explicit statement of such, but in any event there's a distinction between say, speeding and smoking. There may be some physiological basis for speeding behavior - e.g., the adrenaline rush that those crazy speed motorcyclists must get. But smoking - for most, not all, but most smokers - has a much stronger element of physiological as well as psychological addiction. It would be very, very difficult to design a vaccine to address individual motivation for behavior such as speeding and then intervene with that reward center.

Am I in favor of scientific research that designs substances to interfere with the reward centers of our brains to lessen the likelihood that we will engage in risky and/or harmful behavior? Well, yes and no. To the extent that it provides one more way that I can personally choose to control my own behavior, then yes. I understand the counter-argument, it's a slippery slope from that point, so it does give me pause. But our collective and individual behavior is already shaped and controlled by myriad political and cultural influences. And we have already set foot on that slippery slope, maybe this is just one more step on the way down, I don't know.

Jamie S. Rich said...

I say let people smoke all they want. I don't even mind them doing it in long as they wear a plastic bag over their head while they do.