No more smoking

Published: Friday 15 May 1998

A chemical compound responsible for creating nicotine addiction among smokers has recently been identified. Like many other drugs, the addictive elements of nicotine are linked with its capacity to release the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain. Some of the brain's receptors have a high affinity for nicotine, resulting in an excessive production of dopamine. It is this dopamine release that intensifies the urge to continue smoking. This is the first proof that if these receptors of brain are deactivated, the dependence on nicotine will be reduced ( Nature, Vol 391, No 6663).

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