Two studies funded by NIDA have highlighted a correlation between ADHD symptoms and initial smoking age. The first of the separate studies involved data collected during interviews of 1881 sets of twins and their families and were carried out by the University of Minnesota and Auburn University.
The findings of the studies suggest a correlation between “more severe symptoms” of ADHD and a younger age at which children start smoking and higher rates of nicotine use. It was also found that there was a stronger link between nicotine dependence, number of cigarettes smoked per day and ADHD symptoms in females.
A team from the Brigham Young University has expanded research in this area to explore the opportunity to predict illicit substance use later in life based on early cigarette uptake and ADHD symptoms. Using a study population from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health the research team highlighted an increased likelihood that those with ADHD symptoms who also smoked at a young age were more likely to subsequently use illicit drugs.
These studies are of interest for those exploring smoking cessation or prevention interventions. The research is also useful for anyone hoping to identify groups who are at greater risk of taking drugs. This could be useful in planning prevention initiatives and interventions which approach problematic substance use.
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