Is attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptom severity associated with tobacco use?

Am J Addict. 2008 May-Jun;17(3):195-8. doi: 10.1080/10550490802021937.


Several studies report a strong link between ADHD and tobacco use; however, the nature of this relationship is not entirely clear. We examined the relationship between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and tobacco use within a sample of college students. Although tobacco use was the main focus, we also examined alcohol and marijuana use. We examined the association between the number of ADHD symptoms endorsed (severity), and tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use in a convenience sample of 334 college students in the southeastern United States. Survey data were based on the annual Core Alcohol and Drug Survey for substance use, and the Current Symptom Scale (CSS) for ADHD, conduct disorder (CD), and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) symptoms. Among ever users of a substance, the number (severity) of current ADHD symptoms, including inattentive and hyperactive symptoms, were significantly associated with the frequency of tobacco and marijuana use in the past month and past year, as well as to the frequency of alcohol use in the past month. The results suggest that the number of ADHD symptoms is proportionally associated with tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse / diagnosis
  • Marijuana Abuse / epidemiology
  • Marijuana Abuse / psychology
  • Self Medication / psychology
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology
  • United States