Can we prevent smoking in children with ADHD: a review of the literature

Conn Med. 2010 Apr;74(4):229-36.


Cigarette smokers pose public health challenges and are over-represented among individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This article reviews the link between ADHD and smoking across various developmental stages with an emphasis on factors that interact with ADHD (e.g., comorbidity with conduct disorder) to modify risk for nicotine dependence from childhood through adulthood.

Method: A literature review was conducted for 2000-2009 using key words ADHD, smoking, adolescents, adulthood.

Results: Childhood, adolescent and adult ADHD all increase risk for smoking. Childhood ADHD increases risk for early smoking during adolescence, particularly if untreated and in combination with conduct disorder (CD). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in adolescence increases the risk of daily smoking in adulthood. These findings underscore the importance of smoking prevention for children and adolescents with ADHD and other risk factors (e.g., CD). Pharmacotherapy for ADHD offers promise to lower the risk of smoking during adolescence. Preventing the development of conduct disorder (CD) or controlling the symptoms of CD is also possible and may reduce smoking and associated outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / drug therapy
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants