Understanding Vulnerability to Nicotine

Friday, 14 February 2014
Regency C (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Delon Human , Health Diplomats, Geneva, Switzerland
Placed in the context of international efforts to reduce the harm caused by smoking classic cigarettes and an ever-increasing range of nicotine-based products, this presentation will place under the microscope the principal reinforcing component responsible for addiction - nicotine. A much maligned substance, nicotine gets the blame for the harm caused by smoking. Yet scientifically speaking, nicotine is a relatively innocuous substance. Medical products containing purified nicotine, for example, are not associated with adverse health effects. Neither are people becoming addicted to nicotine replacement therapies like patches, gums or nasal sprays. In this presentation, I will examine what recent clinical and preclinical findings are telling us about variations in our genetic material that can increase our vulnerability to develop nicotine dependence. In particular, I will focus on what the behavioral, molecular and biochemical evidence is telling us about the brain's regulation of the aversive properties of nicotine on one hand, and increases in vulnerability to nicotine dependence on the other.