ADHD and Smoking
Nicotine can be, and often is, used as a self-medicating tool in people with ADHD, and other psychiatric conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Nicotine acts as a stimulant and can actually reduce ADHD symptoms. Because of this, people with ADHD are more likely to smoke, and less likely to quit [Moolchan, Ernst & Henningfield, 2000].
Another study showed a strong correlation between ADHD and smoking as well. This study indicated that adolescents with ADHD, especially with symptoms of inattention, were three times more likely to start smoking.[Tercyak et al.,2002]
Adolescents that are given stimulant medication are less likely to smoke than their counterparts who do not take stimulant medication. Interestingly though, bupropion, a medication often given to help smokers quit, was found to have the opposite impact on people with ADHD and it was not found to be effective in increasing quitting.
Smoking, as we all know, is dangerous to our health. It is responsible for 90% of all deaths due to lung cancer, can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema and chronic bronchitis among many other health conditions.
Quitting smoking, however, can be very difficult and requires great commitment. For people that are thinking of quitting or have tried to quit and want to try again, Healthcentral.com has a site with a great deal of information on quitting and offers information and tools to help you quit.
"ADHD Med Does not Reduce Smoking", 2007, Aug 31, Rick Nauert, PhD, PsychCentral.com
Columbia Study Examines ADHD's Role in Smoking, 2006, Nov 16, Science Daily
On ADHD and Smoking, 2002, Oct-Dec, Killeen, Maureen Reed, Journal of Child and Adolescent Nursing