Drug Warriors In Your Bloodstream Soon?

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Nabi Biopharmaceuticals reports that in a small clinical trial of its anti-nicotine vaccine, that 38 percent of smokers injected with the highest dose became smoke-free for a month. That quitting rate compares favorably with other methods. About 5 percent of smokers succeed in quitting cold turkey. Nicotine replacement yields about a 10 percent quit rate. Some programs using nicotine replacement and counseling claim smoking cessation rates of up to 40 percent. Of course, one shot in the arm would be a lot less costly in time and money than a counseling program.

Assuming that the anti-nicotine vaccine proves to be safe and effective, we will soon see drug warriors (and I'm afraid, lots of worried parents) urging that anti-nicotine shots be included with other childhood vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella.

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  1. Now we have drugs we can force on people to fight against the use of drugs. What a war.

    Better living through chemistry?

  2. I have no problems with vaccinating against actual illnesses, but vaccinating against behavior scares the hell out of me.

  3. I have no problem with urging. If the Drug War in this country was conducted by having the government provide a constant stream of factual information to advise against the usage of detrimental substances, I’d likely support it.

  4. You know, I’d have no problem vaccinating my kids against nicotine addiction…

    …if I could be sure that a vaccine that affects the way the brain responds to a stimulant won’t also affect, say, responses to psychiatric medications. Or affect the body’s natural chemicals responsible for mood and appetite.

    I realize that vaccines against viruses carry their own set of unknown risks, but they also protect against a concrete harm that can’t be avoided with common sense. The harms of smoking can be avoided with common sense behavior, and quitting is still possible. Not easy, but possible. And quitting can reverse the harms inflicted by smoking, as long as the damage isn’t past certain thresholds.

    Color me cautious here.

  5. Jennifer,
    Me too. Next thing you know they’ll be medicating kids that act up in class.

  6. I also don’t see the problem with urging. Requiring, OTOH, I’ve got a problem with.

  7. “Urging” usually leads to “requiring”/”providing for”, ubfortunately.

  8. While “urging” is certainly better than “requiring”, I’m not especially thrilled at the prospect of a government spending billions to propagandize me about how I ought to live my life, even if it stops short of jailing me for refusing to toe the line.

    What does this kind of nannying have to do with the a government that is exists to guarantee our rights?

  9. To clarify?I don’t have a problem with private groups urging people to get the vaccine.

  10. A biomedical breakthrough is announced that allows people to have better control over their use of substances.

    And Reason’s response is caution.

    Not even some throat clearing that this new product will be welcome by people who want it. Crystal meth gets more positive treatment on this page than this vaccine.

  11. OK, joe, good point.

    To be fair, all I said was that I wouldn’t give it to a kid as a pre-emptive measure. But as a therapeutic measure it sounds great.

  12. If you want to quit, and this works, sweet! I hope it works and is safe enough for use for adults who want to quit. But, you know, as a pre-emptive measure it sounds dumb, and scary (vaccinating behavior), and I don’t really want it required.

    Maybe changing the nomenclature from “vaccine” to “addiction treatment” would help. But mainly it seems like the nannies have forgotten that making monumentally bad choices is among the many freedoms we are supposed to enjoy.

  13. It’s unlikely that this would be approved for preventive vaccination given these studies, and the success rate is really pretty shabby.

  14. Actually, the FDA is open to the argument that prophylactic use of the nicotine vaccine among minors may be unethical because it deprives them of free will.

    BOOYAA!!!

  15. Assuming that the anti-nicotine vaccine proves to be safe and effective, we will soon see drug warriors (and I’m afraid, lots of worried parents) urging that anti-nicotine shots be included

    Frankly, I’d expect the former group to jump in without being sticklers on safety or effectiveness.

  16. What does this kind of nannying have to do with the a government that is exists to guarantee our rights?

    From a minimalist government perspective, I agree. However, I consider “urging” to be a compromise to those who would prefer “forcing”.

    To clarify?I don’t have a problem with private groups urging people to get the vaccine.

    Do you have a problem with government urging vaccinations (which is done right now)? What makes this vaccine so special to you? There are no government mandated vaccinations. There is no reason to think that forced niccotine vaccinations is a legitimate slippery slope fear.

  17. The FDA (or any arm of gubmint for that matter) has a problem with something that deprives people of free will?! When is Bizarro superman going to show up?

  18. I just saw the movie Serenity, and vaccinations against risky behaviors don’t seem like such a great idea. It also creeps me out that there is now a drug (excuse me, medicine) that can stop you from experiencing certain kinds of pleasure. Heebie-jeebies all over the place.

  19. MP

    Heaven forbid anyone commenting on a libertarian blog have a problem with an existing government program.

  20. MP said: I have no problem with urging. If the Drug War in this country was conducted by having the government provide a constant stream of factual information to advise against the usage of detrimental substances, I’d likely support it.

    But then it wouldn’t be a war, and we need to fight this drug scourge with our entire arsenal. It would be something sissy, like education. Are you a sissy? Hoo-ah.

  21. Heaven forbid anyone commenting on a libertarian blog have a problem with an existing government program.

    Heaven forbid that a libertarian may not simply have a kneejerk “government is evil” reaction to every government sponsored initiative.

  22. As to Joe’s comments about this vaccine getting less respect than crystal meth, I say: INDEED!

    This vaccine is for quitters, are you a quitter?

  23. Heaven forbid that a libertarian may not simply have a kneejerk “government is evil” reaction to every government sponsored initiative.

    I know, man. What weirdos, being remotely suspicious about what policies drug warriors might support.

  24. MP,

    While there aren’t techincally any government mandated vaccines, most school systems do require them for children enrolled in school.

    And thus, a tangent was born…

  25. While there aren’t techincally any government mandated vaccines, most school systems do require them for children enrolled in school.

    Hey look! More unintended consequences from lawsuit nation.

  26. Actually, the FDA is open to the argument that prophylactic use of the nicotine vaccine among minors may be unethical because it deprives them of free will.

    This brings up an important point I considering. Suppose a parent gives his or her child this vaccine at a very young age. Then lets say 20 years later that same person says “I would never have given informed consent to be vaccinated since my friends who smoke seem to enjoy it and I want to at least see what its like” Does the vaccine wear off ? Is there an antidote if someone wants to reverse the effects?

    If adults who are having a hard time quitting voluntarily get the vaccine, more power to them. But permenently preventing someone from having certain experiences when that person never consented to be so prevented is grounds for concern.

  27. Are vaccines, even Government Required vaccines, inherently evil? I don’t think that vaccinating against a communicable disease like measles, small pox, yellow fever or malaria is a bad thing. However, smoking is not a communicable disease any more than Sickle Cell Anemia is. This is innoculating against a behavioral choice. If it is by the personal choice of the recipient (eg. Addiction Treatment) then fantastic, glad to have one more tool in the arsonal against addiction but if it is forced upon people then it is wrong.

    And further on Joe’s tangent, from the CDC:
    =================
    In the United States, proof of immunization against diphtheria, measles, poliomyelitis, and rubella is now universally required for entry into school. In addition, the school entry requirements of most states include immunization against tetanus (49 states), pertussis (44 states), mumps (46 states), and hepatitis B (26 states). Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) vaccine is not required for school entry but is required in 49 states for attendance in day care facilities. Because the incidence of reported hepatitis A is substantially higher in 11 states, mostly in the west, some states now require hepatitis A vaccination for school or day care entry.
    =================
    While the Federal Government may not require vaccinations, when all 50 states do is there really a choice in effect?

  28. Assuming that the anti-nicotine vaccine proves to be safe and effective, we will soon see drug warriors (and I’m afraid, lots of worried parents) urging that anti-nicotine shots be included with other childhood vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella.

    and

    I have no problems with vaccinating against actual illnesses, but vaccinating against behavior scares the hell out of me.

    Well, well, well, well, well, well, well!

    When I argued about a week ago that mandatory vaccinations of young girls to prevent HPV infections — which can easily be prevented by avoiding promiscuous sexual behavior — were an infringement on my parental rights, I was excoriated as a heartless Neanderthal who wanted to condemn my daughters to an early death from cervical cancer.

    Now it seems that mandatory vaccinations to prevent cigarette addiction are considered a threat to personal liberty, even though cigarette smoking is far, far, far more likely to cause cancer than HPV infection.

    Not that I don’t agree with Ron and Jennifer — I just thought I’d publicly savor the irony.

  29. Captain Holly, find us somebody on this forum who argued in favor of making the HPV vaccine mandatory.

  30. When I argued about a week ago that mandatory vaccinations of young girls to prevent HPV infections — which can easily be prevented by avoiding promiscuous sexual behavior — were an infringement on my parental rights, I was excoriated as a heartless Neanderthal who wanted to condemn my daughters to an early death from cervical cancer. Now it seems that mandatory vaccinations to prevent cigarette addiction are considered a threat to personal liberty, even though cigarette smoking is far, far, far more likely to cause cancer than HPV infection.

    The bad effects of cigarette smoking are not contagious, whereas HPV is. Big difference.

    But don’t worry, Cap’n–I’m sure your daughter will never have non-marital sex, after you told her NO. After all, she’s never, ever disobeyed you, and furthermore the only kids who ever have sex are the ones whose parents told them to “go for it,” right? That whole adolescent-rebellion thing is a myth.

    And if she gets raped by a guy with HPV, I’m sure he’ll be considerate enough to wear a condom first. So there’s no need to vaccinate her against cancer; your sense of self-righteousness will give her all the protection she’ll ever need.

  31. And you can be completely confident that her husband will also be a virgin when they get married, and that he’ll never cheat on her.

  32. Thoreau,

    I think your initial caution is plenty justified. Immunizing people against a molecule that looks a lot like an endogenous molecule (which nicotine and all other drugs do to some extent) strikes me as very ill-advised. That’s one way you can cause an autoimmune disorder.

    And I’d imagine an autoimmunereaction to acetylcholine would be extremely unpleasant up until the moment it kills you.

    Obviously, this hasn’t happened in the clinical trials (to date). But it absolutely could, and I find the lack of discussion on this in the literature (at least as far as I’ve read, which is more than what’s in the popular media) to be a bit unsettling.

    All that said, if the drug proves to be safe, and the chances of what I’m talking about turn out to be remote, I’m all for making it available to adults who want help quitting…the benefits of quitting smoking far outweighing the risk of an exotic reaction.

    But I would consider immunizing children against nicotine as some sort of prophylactic measure to be criminally reckless.

  33. But I would consider immunizing children against nicotine as some sort of prophylactic measure to be criminally reckless.

    Come again? Unless there was some sort of legitimate risk associated with it, how would it be criminal?

  34. Unless there was some sort of legitimate risk associated with it, how would it be criminal?

    Because you’re not immunizing against a contagious disease, but against behavior which doesn’t even harm others but is considered abhorrent by the government. That is a very dangerous precedent.

    On a semi-related note, there have been some studies suggesting that smoking MIGHT have a health benefit; apparently something in the nicotine reduces the risk of degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. I wonder if this vaccine will interfere with that.

  35. The bad effects of cigarette smoking are not contagious, whereas HPV is. Big difference.

    Wrong. HPV isn’t “contagious” in the sense that measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, smallpox, etc. are.

    Unlike the above diseases, I can go to a theatre, eat in a room, study in a library, and even live in the same house with someone who has HPV, and unless I put my uncovered penis/mouth into/on an infected orifice/genital, I won’t get HPV.

    In other words, I can completely protect myself from HPV by my behavior.

    Oh, and regarding cigarettes, haven’t you heard about the ravages of second-hand smoke?

    But don’t worry, Cap’n–I’m sure your daughter will never have non-marital sex, after you told her NO. After all, she’s never, ever disobeyed you, and furthermore the only kids who ever have sex are the ones whose parents told them to “go for it,” right? That whole adolescent-rebellion thing is a myth.

    And she might start smoking too, even though I’ve told her not to. After all, what kind of parent would willingly take a chance of having her get addicted to cigarettes? Better to get her vaccinated and be sure.

    And if she gets raped by a guy with HPV, I’m sure he’ll be considerate enough to wear a condom first. So there’s no need to vaccinate her against cancer; your sense of self-righteousness will give her all the protection she’ll ever need.

    Jennifer, there are roughly 12,000 cases of cervical cancer reported in the US annually; “only” 4,000 of those are fatal. It’s not even in the top 10 of female cancers. In addition, both incidence and death rates for cervical cancer have been declining over the past 20 years; furthermore, cervical cancer is easily detectible in the early stages.

    Cigarette smoking, OTOH, causes some 300,000 to 400,000 deaths every year (depending on whose statistics you use). Statistically speaking, it’s far, far, far, FAR wiser to vaccinate your kid against nicotine addiction than against HPV.

    I don’t think either vaccine should be mandatory. But as Ron intimated, there’s plenty of Nannies who think we should do it anyway “for the good of the children”.

  36. Because you’re not immunizing against a contagious disease, but against behavior which doesn’t even harm others but is considered abhorrent by the [edit]parents[/edit].

    So parents shouldn’t be allowed to tweak their kids via science?

  37. Two points:

    1) The epitope of exogenous nicotine against which the nicotine vaccine provokes antibodies is not present on the nicotinic receptor ligand acetylcholine. Thus not autoimmunity is expected.

    2) The vaccine does not actually prevent a kid from smoking… it merely prevents the pleasure that derives from the nicotine. Kids could still puff away if it turns out that the taste, smell, and peer approval were the real appeals.

  38. I can completely protect myself from HPV by my behavior.

    Only if you assume that sexual assault, or having a cheating spouse, can be completely avoided if you, or your daughter, behaves properly.

    Jennifer, there are roughly 12,000 cases of cervical cancer reported in the US annually; “only” 4,000 of those are fatal.

    Good point–even if your daughter does get the cancer that’s okay, because there’s only a one-in-three chance that she’ll die.

    Oh, and regarding cigarettes, haven’t you heard about the ravages of second-hand smoke?

    Haven’t YOU heard the studies have been discredited?

    furthermore, cervical cancer is easily detectible in the early stages.

    And I’m sure the treatments are quite enjoyable and affordable, not something a parent would hope his child could avoid.

    And she might start smoking too, even though I’ve told her not to. After all, what kind of parent would willingly take a chance of having her get addicted to cigarettes? Better to get her vaccinated and be sure.

    This analogy does not work because, as has been said before, the nicotine vaccine prevents behavior, not disease. A better analogy would be your saying “I don’t need to give my daughter the HPV vaccine since I plan to fill her vagina with concrete, thus preventing any sexual behavior.”

  39. Captain Holly, find us somebody on this forum who argued in favor of making the HPV vaccine mandatory.

    Well then that last thread must have been a big misunderstanding, because I sure caught alot of grief in the comments for opposing mandatory HPV vaccination.

    BTW, I take it you’re on my side now, Thoreau. 😉

    And you can be completely confident that her husband will also be a virgin when they get married, and that he’ll never cheat on her.

    And I can’t be completely confident she won’t marry a smoker, or start smoking herself, either.

    Look, that’s the same argument that would be used to justify mandatory anti-nictoine vaccinations –we can’t be sure teenagers will make the right choices, so we must protect them from the consequences of their stupid behaviors.

    “For the Children” is the rallying cry of the Nanny State.

  40. But then how will kids get the steady nerves that they need to combat the feds^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H evil?

  41. Cap’n Holly: I’m confused–I never talked about making HPV vaccines mandatory. My concern was that the FDA might not approve a perfectly safe vaccine for treating minors on allegedly moral grounds as opposed to scientific grounds. You know, like the agency appears to be doing with the Plan B emergency contraceptive.

    To joe: I thought it could go without saying that the voluntary therapeutic use of an anti-nicotine vaccine by smokers who want to quit is OK. Evidently, I was wrong.

  42. Haven’t YOU heard the studies have been discredited?

    They haven’t been “discredited” in the sense that secondhand cigarette smoke doesn’t cause cancer. It’s the antismoking crowd’s “Secondhand Smoke is Worse than Smoking” nonsense that has been discredited.

    The negative effects of secondhand smoke, like smoking itself, depend on the amount of exposure over time. Unless you have severe asthma, simply eating in a restaurant where someone is smoking isn’t going to harm you — but living for years with a heavy smoker will.

    The great football coach Vince Lombardi died of lung cancer, but he wasn’t a smoker. His wife was.

  43. Cap’n Holly: I’m confused–I never talked about making HPV vaccines mandatory.

    Good. I’m glad we all agree then. Group hug, anyone? 🙂

  44. Oh, and regarding cigarettes, haven’t you heard about the ravages of second-hand smoke?

    Yes. I heard that the CDC study about second hand smoke was blown out of the water by peer review, and the results were a huge lie.

    I suggest you read the most recent studies that show that second-hand smoke has no bearing on mortality rates. Studies funded by the ACS, no less.

  45. To Ron:

    “To joe: I thought it could go without saying that the voluntary therapeutic use of an anti-nicotine vaccine by smokers who want to quit is OK.”

    Since you don’t think it goes without saying that the use of other drugs created by pharma companies, stem cell lines, or a number of other substances is ok – in fact, since you post “Yipee, isn’t this neat?” entries whenever a breakthrough is announced for each of those – I found it notable that you didn’t even gesture towards such a sentiment when this breakthrough was announced.

    But hey, it’s good to know that you consider it OK for people to take advange of this invention. Not good. Not important. Not a symbol of the great technological future that promises to allow us to live better lives, as you describe all the other drug discoveries.

    No, in this case, you’re on the record as having no objection. Good for you.

  46. The negative effects of secondhand smoke, like smoking itself, depend on the amount of exposure over time. Unless you have severe asthma, simply eating in a restaurant where someone is smoking isn’t going to harm you — but living for years with a heavy smoker will.

    Save the ridiculous one-off examples and read the Kabat study. Look at the egregious errors in the methodoly used in the EPA and CDC reports.

  47. Captain Holly-

    I’m totally with you on opposing mandatory use of the HPV vaccine. But I think it’s pretty freaking stupid to decide not to let your daughter get it when she’s at the optimal age to derive benefit from it, which most doctors say (as I recall from the last thread) is early teens.

    See, I can support your right to make a decision AND think you’re making a stupid decision. Neat how that works, huh?

    As far as this nicotine vaccine, I’m not normally on the risk-averse bandwagon when it comes to food and medicine. Life will always have risks. But the neat thing about it is that you can get significant benefit from it (i.e. greater ease of quitting) even after exposure to nicotine. It’s not like most anti-viral vaccines, that work best before exposure. So I see no reason to accept an unknown risk before you know whether you’ll need the vaccine, when you can get substantial benefits from taking the vaccine later.

  48. Save the ridiculous one-off examples and read the Kabat study. Look at the egregious errors in the methodoly used in the EPA and CDC reports.

    Yes, yes, I’m fully aware of how the EPA removed all the data that weren’t “helpful” to their thesis, in order to produce a document that claimed thousands died annually from secondhand smoke. The idea that short-term, transient exposure to cigarette smoke is as deadly as smoking is ludicrous.

    But it’s just as ludicrous to claim that because the EPA and CDC “massaged” their data, secondhand cigarette smoke is harmless. It’s not. As with smoking cigarettes, the amount of exposure determines whether you just smell like an ashtray when you get home, or you die from lung cancer at age 50.

    If you live with a two-pack-a-day smoker for 20 years, you’re going to have a significantly elevated risk for respiratory cancers, as well as be significantly more likely to suffer asthma, emphysema, or heart attacks.

    That is a fact, even if the EPA and CDC chose to grossly exaggerate it for political purposes.

  49. joe: I plead guilty to being generally enthusiastic about modern technological advances (especially when they are not subsidized). However, you obviously miss another thread in my reporting, and that is my consistent worry that the state will deny access to new techs or will abuse technologies to oppress people.

    If you had clicked on the 3rd link in the post, you would have found a story from the British paper The Independent about how some government functionaries are already comtemplating mandatory childhood anti-addiction vaccinations. See interesting quotation below:

    Professor Nutt, head of psychopharmacology at the University of Bristol and a senior member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, said: “People could be vaccinated against drugs at birth as you are against measles. You could say cocaine is more dangerous than measles, for example. It is important that there is a debate on this issue. This is a huge topic – addiction and smoking are major causes of premature death.

  50. But hey, it’s good to know that you consider it OK for people to take advange of this invention. Not good. Not important. Not a symbol of the great technological future that promises to allow us to live better lives, as you describe all the other drug discoveries. No, in this case, you’re on the record as having no objection. Good for you.

    Calm the hell down, Joe. When the government is toying with the idea of making something mandatory, it’s okay to talk against the mandate without first including a discliamer talking about how wonderful the mandated thing otherwise is. Just like, when Jacob Sullum writes against the drug war, he doesn’t need to include disclaimers saying “Cocaine addiction really is a bad thing, and I am certainly not encouraging children to use the drug.”

    At least, he shouldn’t need to include disclaimers.

    Joe, by focusing on this tree you’re kind of missing the forest, you know?

  51. Can Reason writers talk about how bad it is for the government to use electric shocks to torture people, without including a disclaimer to the effect that they’re not opposed to electricity, and in fact think electricity has led to some wonderful things?

  52. Professor Nutt…said: “…You could say cocaine is more dangerous than measles…addiction and smoking are major causes of premature death.”

    Nutt, how apt, could easily say the same thing about government as cocaine, especially considering the addictive power of…well power. I wonder if we could get a vaccination against government intrusion. To me this guy sounds like another of the “alive at any cost” crowd. He makes no distinction between alive and living.

  53. I’m totally with you on opposing mandatory use of the HPV vaccine. But I think it’s pretty freaking stupid to decide not to let your daughter get it when she’s at the optimal age to derive benefit from it, which most doctors say (as I recall from the last thread) is early teens.

    Getting back to the original argument, there will be plenty in the government and schools who will think that not allowing your kid to vaccinated against nicotine is just as stupid (if not more so), and therefore vaccinations should be mandatory for all children — parents be damned.

    It’s the same basic premise — a certain percentage of kids are going to smoke anyway, so we should make it as risk-free for them as possible. And who in their right mind would oppose such a thing? So what if your kid doesn’t smoke — the fact that he might outweighs everything, including parental rights.

    So even if he doesn’t smoke (and about 75% of high schoolers don’t) he has to get the vaccine, just to be sure. And parents who object will be ignored, if not investigated by Child Protective Services.

    I doubt anyone here would agree this is a good idea.

  54. So, Captain Holly, what do you want?

    Do you want people to stop trying to create any vaccine that you disapprove of, so nobody ever tries to mandate it?

    Or do you want these vaccines to be available but not mandatory?

    I’m cool with the second option. I’m totally opposed to the first. I don’t even see the first as a “lesser evil” to stave off mandatory use of the HPV and nicotine vaccines (which I’d oppose).

  55. “that 38 percent of smokers injected with the highest dose became smoke-free for a month.”

    This must be a typo, Mr. Bailey. Or are they saying that I must get an injection every month to stay off smoking…?

  56. wsdave: The study ended after 30 days–the effects may have lasted longer.

  57. Quibbler,

    Point taken on the specific epitope of the vaccine. However, given that nicotine is a very simple molecule, I’m no less concerned about potential cross-reactivity (not just with endogenous substances, but also with potential therapeutics.)

  58. This brings up an important point I considering. Suppose a parent gives his or her child this vaccine at a very young age. Then lets say 20 years later that same person says “I would never have given informed consent to be vaccinated since my friends who smoke seem to enjoy it and I want to at least see what its like” Does the vaccine wear off ? Is there an antidote if someone wants to reverse the effects?
    If you think that’ll fly, I want my foreskin back.

  59. So, Captain Holly, what do you want?

    Do you want people to stop trying to create any vaccine that you disapprove of, so nobody ever tries to mandate it?

    Or do you want these vaccines to be available but not mandatory?

    I’m cool with the second option. I’m totally opposed to the first. I don’t even see the first as a “lesser evil” to stave off mandatory use of the HPV and nicotine vaccines (which I’d oppose).

    I’m in complete agreement with the second option.

    I’m bothered by the idea some have that opposing mandatory HPV vaccination is irresponsible, yet opposing mandatory anti-nicotine vaccination is defending personal liberty. My argument would be that statistically speaking, the second vaccine would be far more likely to save lives, although I hasten to add that I believe neither should be mandatory.

    However, I am leery of these vaccines getting approved because for many in the Public Health/Public School bureaucracies, FDA approval is equivalent to making the vaccine mandatory. Ron provided an excellent example of that type of thinking just a few comments ago.

  60. I’m bothered by the idea some have that opposing mandatory HPV vaccination is irresponsible

    I’m bothered by that idea too. So if you want to argue with people who espouse that idea, find a forum where they hang out.

    However, I am leery of these vaccines getting approved because for many in the Public Health/Public School bureaucracies, FDA approval is equivalent to making the vaccine mandatory.

    I don’t have any easy answers here. But if you want the FDA to keep these vaccines off the market, that’s the wrong approach in my book.

  61. I’m bothered by that idea too. So if you want to argue with people who espouse that idea, find a forum where they hang out.

    Oh, please. When I’m described as “freaking stupid” and “self-righteous” for declining to give my daughter a vaccine that, at best, only protects against 4 of the 30-odd sexually-transmitted strains of HPV, it’s easy to get the impression that people think my daughter should be vaccinated, regardless of what I as a parent think.

    But okay, I’ll try to be less sensitive next time.

  62. Captain Holly-

    You know what? I think you’re making a dumb decision. But you’ll never catch me arguing that your stupid decision should be against the law.

    Do you get it? We’re 100% against using the law to force you to live the way we think you should live.

    Being libertarian doesn’t mean that we have no opinion on how people should live their lives. Some of us have very strong opinions on the matter. We just don’t think that our opinions should be legislated. We also don’t think that the law should be used to keep the public from purchasing vaccines voluntarily.

  63. If you live with a two-pack-a-day smoker for 20 years, you’re going to have a significantly elevated risk for respiratory cancers, as well as be significantly more likely to suffer asthma, emphysema, or heart attacks

    This is your opinion? I haven’t seen any studies that show this.

  64. ????s the decision about what’s good in your bloodstream?
    Who makes the decision about when it’s good to eavesdrop on your conversations?
    When can we convene a meeting between those who defend our rights to privacy… and those who defend our rights to… uh, privacy?
    Let’s get a little critical mass going.

    Goes back to what I’ve said before about the Second Amendment. It shot us all–here in the US–in the foot, because it should have been a declaration that we own our bodies. That would have been the magisterial segue, after the First Amendment established we own our minds.
    Unfortunately, the Bill of Rights were slapdash.

  65. “This brings up an important point I considering. Suppose a parent gives his or her child this vaccine at a very young age. Then lets say 20 years later that same person says “I would never have given informed consent to be vaccinated since my friends who smoke seem to enjoy it and I want to at least see what its like” Does the vaccine wear off ? Is there an antidote if someone wants to reverse the effects?”

    It is a parent’s right and responsibility to make such decisions for his child. If it turns out later that the child says, “I would never have agreed to that if I had a choice”, well then an appropriate response would be: Sorry, but you did not have a choice.

  66. It is a parent’s right and responsibility to make such decisions for his child. If it turns out later that the child says, “I would never have agreed to that if I had a choice”, well then an appropriate response would be: Sorry, but you did not have a choice.

    That’s true for many things, but not for everything a parent might concievably want to do or have done with his or her child. As a rule, if a parent wants to have X done to a child and X would permanently physically prevent the person from making certain choices or experiencing certian things in adult life that he or she would normally be able to make or experience; then there are grounds to question whether X is legitimately within the range of things parents has the right to have done to their dependents. To answer that question, one would have to consider the details of what X entails.

    It might very well be that the nicotine vaccine is within a parent’s rightful prerogative. I would not however, dismiss objections to that view out of hand. I am not convinced that it is a no-brainer. I can imagine things, things which are similiar (at least superficially) to an anti-pleasure-from-nicotine vaccine, which I would say a parent should not be allowed to give to a two-year-old if its permanent and irreversible.

  67. It is a parent’s right and responsibility to make such decisions for his child. If it turns out later that the child says, “I would never have agreed to that if I had a choice”, well then an appropriate response would be: Sorry, but you did not have a choice.

    That’s true for many things, but not for everything a parent might concievably want to do or have done with his or her child. As a rule, if a parent wants to have X done to a child and X would permanently physically prevent the person from making certain choices or experiencing certian things in adult life that he or she would normally be able to make or experience; then there are grounds to question whether X is legitimately within the range of things parents has the right to have done to their dependents. To answer that question, one would have to consider the details of what X entails.

    It might very well be that the nicotine vaccine is within a parent’s rightful prerogative. I would not however, dismiss objections to that view out of hand. I am not convinced that it is a no-brainer. I can imagine things, things which are similiar (at least superficially) to an anti-pleasure-from-nicotine vaccine, which I would say a parent should not be allowed to give to a two-year-old if its permanent and irreversible.

  68. Just noting the discrepancy is all, Jennifer.

    Reason doesn’t typically run pieces about how wonderful electricity is. They do typically run pieces about how wonderful new drugs are. Not as a disclaimer, but as the central thesis of their coverage of the subject.

    Except, apparently, when it comes to drugs that help people stop smoking. Then, the only story worth discussing is whether it will be made mandatory. Which is a perfectly legitimate question – I’ve never suggested otherwise, Ron, no questioned why you’d raise such a concern. I just found it odd that this new choice being made available to consumers isn’t acknowledged as being a positive development at all.

  69. Joe, on another thread we saw a dishonest someone “debate” by making bullshit accusations toward both of us: “You never specifically said it was evil for Frenchmen in World War Two to turn Jews over to the Gestapo; therefore, you must think it was okay.”

    What, were you so impressed by this debating trick that you just couldn’t wait to use it yourself? Read what Bailey wrote, rather than make assumptions about what he didn’t.

  70. Because you’re not immunizing against a contagious disease, but against behavior which doesn’t even harm others . . .

    Smoking doesn’t harm others at all? Ever? Are you sure you don’t want to amend that?

    On a semi-related note, there have been some studies suggesting that smoking MIGHT have a health benefit; apparently something in the nicotine reduces the risk of degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. I wonder if this vaccine will interfere with that.

    My lifetime-smoker grandfather died of Alzheimer’s in 2004, so that’s one data point against. And I certainly can’t imagine a doctor telling someone who might be at higher risk for Alzheimer’s, “Hey, take up smoking!”

  71. My lifetime-smoker grandfather died of Alzheimer’s in 2004, so that’s one data point against. And I certainly can’t imagine a doctor telling someone who might be at higher risk for Alzheimer’s, “Hey, take up smoking!”

    There needs to be more research on the matter, to be sure, but I know you understand that your grandfather’s story is but a single anecdote, not enough to either prove or disprove anything. Besides, for all you know he would have come down with it a few years earlier, if not for the smoking. Who can tell? We need a lot more research.

    I first read about the nicotine/Alzheimer’s connection on “The Straight Dope,” of all places; it’s still in the archives.

  72. Phil-

    To be fair, there is some anecdotal evidence out there that nicotine could have beneficial effects on the brain. It’s a stimulant, after all, which means that it has a neurological effect. In particular, psychiatrists have noticed that certain types of patients tend to smoke a lot. Maybe they just have poor impulse control, but there’s also a hypothesis that nicotine is producing therapeutic effects for them. And some researchers have found hints that these anecdotal observations are linked to some real biochemistry.

    From what little I’ve heard of that research, the goal isn’t to make smoking into a therapy. Rather, the goal is to find out what effect nicotine has in the brain, and then harness that effect. Maybe by safer nicotine delivery systems, or maybe by another molecule that has a similar (and stronger?) effect.

    I’m not here to defend smoking, just here to offer some semi-related info.

    And, if it should turn out that nicotine has therapeutic effects in the brain, I’d want to know that a smoking vaccine won’t interfere with normal brain function or various neurological drugs before administering it to my kids as a precautionary measure.

    Of course, despite these unknowns it still makes sense for smokers to choose this vaccine. Weighing the unknown risks of the vaccine against the known harms that a smoker is incurring is very different from weighing the unknown risks of the vaccine against the unknown possibility that a kid might smoke some day.

  73. Another thoughht occurs to me: this vaccine reeks of arrogance. Here’s what I mean: remember when the government got the great idea to fight the war on drugs by spraying various plant poisons in coca-growing regions and the like? These drug warriors would be more than happy to make plants like coca and cannabis go extinct.

    But, consider: even if you support the WOD, and even if you believe that drugs turn people into mindless zombie killer rapists, etc., how goddamned arrogant must you be to wipe out these plants? “I personally can’t find good use for it; therefore nobody ever will, so let’s wip ethem out.” Maybe people in the future will be able to extract some incredibly valuable medicine from them.

    And there is something similar at work here with the vaccine; how can you be arrogant enough to make sure nicotine has no effects on the human brain, when in the future we might discover ways to use nicotine for some medically useful purposes? If you are a smoker and you want to take this vaccine, go for it. But it is the height of arrogance for anyone–parents OR the government–to force this vaccine on unwilling or uninformed people. Who knows what future benefits of nicotine might therefore become useless?

    It would be funny, in a bitterly ironic sort of way, if medical researchers of the future are able to make an Alzheimer’s cure out of some nicotine derivative, and it turns out that people who have been vaccinated against nicotine cannot use it.

  74. Jennifer,I did read what Bailey wrote. Why don’t you try reading what I wrote, hmm? And, pray tell, what dishonest position am I alleged to assign to him?

    I never accused Bailey of taking a position against the voluntary use of the “vaccine.” I noted that, quite out of character, he didn’t mention anything in support of it. Which, for about the fourth time now, is odd, because “better living and greater choice through chemistry” is, unlike the wonders of electricity, a repeating theme of Reason’s coverage of drugs.

  75. I noted that, quite out of character, he didn’t mention anything in support of it.

    And thus, you decided this meant he opposed it.

  76. Another use of Nicotine is to euthanize animals, I think. When I was about 18 years old my aunt had a Jersey cow (named Odie) that was old and decrepit. Odie got to the stage where she took several hours in the morning before she could stand, I think she was about 20 years old.

    My aunt finally had her put down and we dug a huge grave on the farm and buried her. I might be totally full of crap here (going by memory), but I am pretty sure the vet told me that he injected Odie with Nicotine to put her down.

  77. Nicotine as therapy: I have not heard of the Alzheimer’s link, but I have heard of smoking as self-medication for Parkinsons. I agree with you and T and others who point out that Nicotine is a potent drug, hence it would not surprise me to see it used therapuetically. After all, BOTOX is just Botulinum Toxin given in extremely small doses, and B. Toxin is one of the most potent poisons on Earth.

  78. Awww, Odie was older than you. So she was just for milkin’ and not for eatin’?

  79. “So she was just for milkin’ and not for eatin’?”

    She was a milker for a long time, but she was just a pet for the last few years. My aunt loved her dearly. I just visited there, but she was a sweet old cow.

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