Researchers at McGill University in Canada have reported their findings that a genetic variation that occurs in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) could be linked to an increased likelihood for them to start smoking and become heavy smokers later in life.
The team of researchers examined five DNA variations that have been previously associated to specific aspects of smoking behaviour including the age individuals start smoking, the number of cigarettes smoked daily and the ease of quitting.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a behavioural condition that effects around 7 percent of children in the UK. The condition is marked by hyperactivity, the inability to control behaviour and compulsions. The researchers we attempting to establish if the presence of such symptoms was associated with a craving based addiction to smoking.
454 children aged between 6 and 12 years old who had been diagnosed with ADHD and referred to specialist treatment centres had their DNzA examined to detect the presence of the genetic variations associated with smoking behaviour.
The results showed that one of the five variations in DNA sequences, which were linked to how much people smoke, was more likely to be found in children with ADHD.
The researchers emphasised that this was only a preliminary findings; further research needs to be conducted to clarify the association focusing on whether the presence of such genetic variation does in fact influence the likelihood of a child with ADHD later becoming a heavy smoker.