Smoking is generally regarded as bad for you. I can't find a single person who will argue today that smoking is neutral, much less good for you. Nonetheless, even though we have spent billions of dollars advertising the facts of smoking and imposed punitive taxes on smokers, almost 30% of adults still do it.

Endangered species

That's not good enough. Like any fundamentalist group, it's not enough until everyone has stopped and repented their sins, and anti-smoker groups can always find a new study to help them out.

The latest salvo? If you smoke, you might be giving your child ADD.

Forget the fact that ADD/ADHD diagnoses are through the roof at a time when smoking among adults and mothers ( and pregnant mothers ) is at its lowest rate in the last 150 years - there must be a link between smoking while a fetus is in the womb and rambunctious kids later.

A new study in the June 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry investigated male and female twin pairs, aged 7–19 years, to figure out the link between smoking and hyperactivity. Rosalind Neuman, Ph.D., explains : "When genetic factors are combined with prenatal cigarette smoke exposure, the ADHD risk rises very significantly. "

3X to 9X in likelihood, she says. As long as the child has a genetic disposition to ADHD, that is. It always pays to read these carefully. But where do they arrive at this 3X to 9X number on something like smoking? They took only children with a genetic link to ADHD, decided if they had it, and then asked if their mothers smoked?

John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry, goes even further. "These data highlight a new risk of maternal smoking, increasing the risk for ADHD in their children. ADHD, in turn, increases the risk for substance abuse. Thus, it appears that in utero exposure to nicotine may help to perpetuate a cycle across generations that links addiction and behavioral problems."

So not only are you more likely to cause ADHD in your children if you smoked during pregnancy, you are more likely to perpetuate smoking. Do they factor in the 18 years of watching parents smoke or drink into the likelihood of a child smoking or drinking? No, not at all.

Do they factor in 18 years of TV and video games in ADHD? Well, no, this is about smoking.

Smokers, and I am not one, are already ghetto-ized in many cities and states, huddled into masses in the outdoors where they are under attack there also and generally vilified.

Why not just ban smoking? If they know it's bad for you, it's regulated almost into oblivion and people who do it are ostracized, then clearly tobacco companies have no political clout.

I don't know the answer. I do know that more studies making tenuous claims cast doubt on all anti-smoking studies. If they come out with a study saying smoking killed JFK you will know science has truly 'jumped the shark.'

"Prenatal Smoking Exposure and Dopaminergic Genotypes Interact to Cause a Severe Subtype" by Rosalind J. Neuman, Elizabeth Lobos, Wendy Reich, Cynthia A. Henderson, Ling-Wei Sun and Richard D. Todd. All authors are from the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri. The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 61, Issue 12 (June 15, 2007)