Ill effects of smoking may be reduced through the development of new smoko-proofing drug.

Based on the developed treatment of Australian scientist, experimental mice can smoke cigarettes without the usual adverse health consequences. This method can potentially allow smokers to evade some of the ill effects of their habit.

According to the lead researcher, Ross Vlahos, the granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), an agent released by the lungs when exposed to cigarette smoke, is the key aspect of the study.

GM-CSF triggers inflammatory leukocytes to become active in the lungs, leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other negative health effects such as oxidative stress, emphysema, small airway fibrosis, mucus hypersecretion and progressive airflow limitation.

Vlahos and his colleagues at the Melbourne University used a blocking agent, known as anti GM-CSF (smoko-proofing drug) and dosed half of the mice with the agent, and left the other half, as the control group. The mice were then given the equivalent of nine cigarettes of smoke each day for four days.

The results showed that mice treated with anti GM-CSF had significantly less lung inflammation, as compared to the untreated mice, said Vlahos.

This indicates that GM-CSF is a key mediator in smoke-induced lung inflammation and its neutralization may have therapeutic implications (for humans) in diseases such as COPD.

It would seem that smokers will be able to take a pill, and then smoke away, reassured in the knowledge that their health is less affected, but unfortunately, anti GM-CSF does not take away the risks of cancer.

Vlahos warns, Our treatment deals with cigarette smoke-induced lung inflammation involved in COPD, not cancer and other smoking-related ailments. Quitting remains the best and the only cure for smoking-related lung disease.