Tobacco Use with ADD and ADHD

Image courtesy of gameanna /

Image courtesy of gameanna /

Individuals with ADD and ADHD have a tendency towards addictive behavior. As I wrote in an earlier piece on gambling, addictive and impulsive behaviors are common place for people with ADD/ADHD. Last October, scientists from McGill University in Canada released a study suggesting that there’s a genetic link between childhood ADHD and heavy tobacco consumption as an adult (McGill University Study). The study also goes on to explain how it is important for people with ADD/ADHD to identify programs that are catered to the individual if he or she is looking to quit.

So does this mean that a child with ADD/ADHD is going to run to his or her local store and buy cigarettes the rest of his or her life? Obviously not, but what it does tell us and helps us to understand is that there’s a little more to this than just being addicted to nicotine. We need to look at this from a bigger-picture standpoint. If individuals with ADD/ADHD are more-likely to smoke when he or she gets older (from a genetic and scientific perspective), than the problem goes much deeper than just saying no. But at the same time, just because one’s genetically more likely to take on an activity doesn’t mean he or she is going to do it.

With my clients that have expressed an interest in quitting tobacco use, I always suggest he or she starts slow. Instead of stopping, cut down. Set short-term and achievable goals aimed at eventually stopping the activity. For example, if an individual smokes a pack-a-day, start by smoking three less cigarettes a day for one week. If that is successful, make it six less for the next week. And so on and so forth. If a goal is set to quit smoking with no real plan, it is almost-always going to fail. Approach quitting smoking gradually and with achievable goals. There will be slip-ups, but try to hold to your goal as well as you can.

For more information on my ADD, ADHD and Executive Functioning coaching, please visit To learn more information about some of the other services I provide, please visit and I can be found on Twitter at ADHDEFCoach. You can also find me on FacebookGoogle Plus and Tumblr. My good friend and fellow ADD/ADHD Coach Tara McGillicuddy invites me as a regular guest on ADD/ADHD Support Talk Radio. Tara does many wonderful things and you should check out her website here. Feel free to email me at or call 773.888.ADHD (2343) with any additional questions.

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