Annenberg's Leader, Lerman, and Cappella published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research

Research Area: 

A research team comprising Amy Leader, Ph.D., formerly with the Annenberg Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR); Caryn Lerman, Ph.D., the Mary W. Calkins Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and a secondary faculty member at Annenberg; and Joseph N. Cappella, Ph.D., the Gerald R. Miller Professor of Communication, have published an article titled “Nicotine vaccines: Will smokers take a shot at quitting?” in Nicotine and Tobacco Research (Advance Access, February, 25, 2010).

Introduction: A vaccine against nicotine may soon be available to smokers who want to quit. The vaccine stimulates the pro-duction of antibodies that bind to nicotine, thereby impeding nicotine from crossing the blood-brain barrier and exerting psychoactive effects. The primary purpose of this study was to evaluate intentions to try a nicotine vaccine if one were to become available among a nationally representative sample of smokers. The secondary purpose was to assess whether infor¬mation about genetic susceptibility to nicotine addiction had an effect on smokers’ interest in receiving the vaccine.

Methods: Four hundred and twenty-seven adults were ran¬domized to read one of two versions of a short description about the vaccine. One version framed addiction as genetically influ¬enced, while the other framed it as environmentally influenced. Smokers were then asked about their intentions to use a nico¬tine vaccine if one were to become available in the future.

Results: Across both groups, 53% indicated that they would be likely or very likely to try the vaccine. Using multivariate linear regression, the strongest predictors of vaccination intention were having a favorable attitude toward a nicotine vaccine (b = .41) and having a favorable attitude toward vaccination in general (b = .22). There were no significant effects of the framing conditions on intention to receive the vaccine.

Discussion: Intentions to try a nicotine vaccine as a cessation method are relatively high among smokers. If the vaccine becomes available, specific groups of smokers may be more interested than others; education and recruitment efforts could be targeted appropriately.