Links Between ADHD And Parental Tobacco Use

links between adhd and parental tobacco use

Link Between ADHD and Tobacco Use

A number of studies are hinting at the direct link between parental tobacco use (including smoking) and ADHD1,2,4,5,7,10. The link is stronger for children born of “smoking mothers” than of “smoking fathers”10 . Of course, the risk increases even further if both the father and mother are smoking. The same study also reports that a higher risk of ADHD exists in children of mothers who used nicotine replacement during pregnancy.

Now, these findings are significant, especially for working parents who are looking at growing their careers. ADHD and ADD children can raise significant demands on the time of their carers, and add significant stress to their life. Extra stress and a paucity of time can lead to relationship issues which can have long-term effects on emotional health and lead to depression, anxiety and other health symptoms.

Handy Tips

Here are some handy tips from our side which can help to ensure that external factors can be kept in control to reduce the risk of ADHD and ADD in children.

  1. Plan your pregnancy in advance.
  2. Discuss with your partner the concerns about the health of your future children from the existing lifestyle factors such as smoking.
  3. Plan to give up smoking/alcohol consumption yourself and encourage your partner to do the same.
  4. Plan the diet and atmosphere that would be conducive to the growth of the foetus in the womb.

Dietary Factors Impacting Children Health

Diet and environmental factors have always been recognised by ancients as important factors for growth of a baby and modern science is now corroborating these assertions of the ancients3,6,8,9.

Awareness of these links can help you prepare yourself better for pregnancy and reduce the risk of physical and mental health arising in your children that could be related to dietary/physical environment and substance use by parents.


You should try controlling the environmental and dietary factors that can impact the health of your future children. However, there are still chances that children and yourself can develop psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, OCD, postnatal depression, prenatal depression, stress, PTSD, etc due to changes in the environment, hormones, traumatic events or some other unexplained factors.

Our team of Psychologists and Clinical Psychologists are well trained to provide psychotherapeutic treatment and assessment for these issues and help you get your life back in order.


  1. Altink, M. E., Slaats-Willemse, D. I., Rommelse, N. N., Buschgens, C. J., Fliers, E. A., Arias-Vásquez, A., … & Buitelaar, J. K. (2009). Effects of maternal and paternal smoking on attentional control in children with and without ADHD. European child & adolescent psychiatry, 18(8), 465-475.
  2. Ashare, R. L., & Hawk, L. W. (2012). Effects of smoking abstinence on impulsive behavior among smokers high and low in ADHD-like symptoms. Psychopharmacology, 219(2), 537-547.
  3. Freeman, D. J. (2010, April). Effects of maternal obesity on fetal growth and body composition: implications for programming and future health. In Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine (Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 113-118). WB Saunders.
  4. Langley, K., Heron, J., Smith, G. D., & Thapar, A. (2012). Maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy and risk of ADHD symptoms in offspring: testing for intrauterine effects. American journal of epidemiology, 176(3), 261-268.
  5. Lindblad, F., & Hjern, A. (2010). ADHD after fetal exposure to maternal smoking. Nicotine & tobacco research, 12(4), 408-415.
  6. Rodríguez-Bernal, C. L., Rebagliato, M., Iñiguez, C., Vioque, J., Navarrete-Muñoz, E. M., Murcia, M., … & Ballester, F. (2010). Diet quality in early pregnancy and its effects on fetal growth outcomes: the Infancia y Medio Ambiente (Childhood and Environment) Mother and Child Cohort Study in Spain. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 91(6), 1659-1666
  7. Science, L. (2011). The ADHD Rollercoaster: Stressed Parents Need Help, Too. Live Science. Retrieved 23 November 2017, from
  8. Sebert, S., Sharkey, D., Budge, H., & Symonds, M. E. (2011). The early programming of metabolic health: is epigenetic setting the missing link?. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 94(6 Suppl), 1953S-1958S.
  9. Swanson, J. M., Entringer, S., Buss, C., & Wadhwa, P. D. (2009, September). Developmental origins of health and disease: environmental exposures. In Seminars in reproductive medicine (Vol. 27, No. 05, pp. 391-402). © Thieme Medical Publishers.
  10. Zhu, J. L., Olsen, J., Liew, Z., Li, J., Niclasen, J., & Obel, C. (2014). Parental smoking during pregnancy and ADHD in children: the Danish national birth cohort. Pediatrics, 134(2), e382-e388.


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