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Nicotine Tob Res. 2001 Nov;3(4):353-9.

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms and smoking patterns among participants in a smoking-cessation program.

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University of Pennsylvania, 3535 Market St, Suite 4100, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Previous research has suggested an increased liability to smoking among individuals with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This link is thought to be attributable, in part, to nicotine's beneficial effects on attention and performance. In the present study, we examined the association of ADHD symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity with smoking behavior in a sample of 226 male and female smokers ages 18 and older who were enrolled in a smoking-cessation program. Prior to treatment, they completed measures of ADHD symptoms and standardized measures of smoking patterns. Hierarchical linear regression models were used to characterize the smoking patterns associated with ADHD inattention and hyperactivity symptoms, controlling for potential confounder variables. Smoking for stimulation purposes and the urge to smoke to minimize withdrawal symptoms were the primary patterns associated with ADHD inattention symptoms, while hyperactivity symptoms were not associated with smoking patterns. Consistent with a self-medication hypothesis, these results suggest that smokers with frequent symptoms of inattention may use nicotine as a stimulant drug to help manage these symptoms. Future studies of the role of inattention symptoms in response to smoking treatment are warranted.

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