, Volume 227, Issue 1, pp 19–30 | Cite as

Effects of smoking abstinence on smoking-reinforced responding, withdrawal, and cognition in adults with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

  • Scott H. Kollins
  • Joseph S. English
  • Michelle E. Roley
  • Benjamin O’Brien
  • Justin Blair
  • Scott D. Lane
  • F. Joseph McClernon
Original Investigation



Individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a more difficult time quitting smoking compared to their non-ADHD peers. Little is known about the underlying behavioral mechanisms associated with this increased risk.


This study aims to assess the effects of 24-h smoking abstinence in adult smokers with and without ADHD on the following outcomes: smoking-reinforced responding, withdrawal, and cognitive function.


Thirty-three (n = 16 with ADHD, 17 without ADHD) adult smokers (more than or equal to ten cigarettes/day) were enrolled. Each participant completed two experimental sessions: one following smoking as usual and one following biochemically verified 24-h smoking abstinence. Smoking-reinforced responding measured via a progressive ratio task, smoking withdrawal measured via questionnaire, and cognition measured via a continuous performance test (CPT) were assessed at each session.


Smoking abstinence robustly increased responding for cigarette puffs in both groups, and ADHD smokers responded more for puffs regardless of condition. Males in both groups worked more for cigarette puffs and made more commission errors on the CPT than females, regardless of condition. Smoking abstinence also increased ratings of withdrawal symptoms in both groups and smokers with ADHD, regardless of condition, reported greater symptoms of arousal, habit withdrawal, and somatic complaints. Across groups, smoking abstinence decreased inhibitory control and increased reaction time variability on the CPT. Abstinence-induced changes in inhibitory control and negative affect significantly predicted smoking-reinforced responding across groups.


Smokers with ADHD reported higher levels of withdrawal symptoms and worked more for cigarette puffs, regardless of condition, which could help explain higher levels of nicotine dependence and poorer cessation outcomes in this population. Abstinence-induced changes in smoking-reinforced responding are associated with changes in inhibitory control and negative affect regardless of ADHD status, a finding that may lead to novel prevention and treatment programs.


ADHD Nicotine Reinforcement Self-administration 



Funding for this project was from grants 1R01DA025653 (Kollins) and 1R01DAK24023464 (Kollins).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott H. Kollins
    • 1
  • Joseph S. English
    • 1
  • Michelle E. Roley
    • 1
  • Benjamin O’Brien
    • 1
  • Justin Blair
    • 1
  • Scott D. Lane
    • 2
  • F. Joseph McClernon
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Duke ADHD Program, Department of PsychiatryDuke University School of MedicineDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, Center for Neurobehavioral Research on AddictionsUniversity of Texas Health Science Center–HoustonHoustonUSA
  3. 3.The VA Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical CenterDurham VAMCDurhamUSA

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