Stimulant drugs reduce cigarette smoking in teens with ADHD

US researchers gave extended-release methylphenidate to 154 teenagers aged 12–17 with ADHD and compared their smoking rate to an historical sample of teens with ADHD and without ADHD.

While ADHD is considered a risk factor for cigarette smoking only 7.1% of the teenagers in the trial smoked, a rate similar to teens without ADHD. Teenagers with ADHD not taking stimulants were nearly three times more likely to smoke as those taking the drug.

“We can speculate that stimulants might exert a protective effect in part by reducing core symptoms of ADHD and associated comorbid disorders,” the authors wrote.