Today is the Great American Smokeout, an opportunity for people who smoke to commit to healthy, smoke-free lives. This annual observance helps raise awareness about the many tools people can use to quit and stay quit.
That’s important for everyone who smokes, but particularly for people with HIV, who smoke at twice the rate of the general population. In fact, smokers with HIV are more likely than nonsmokers with HIV to develop lung and other cancers, heart disease and stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and serious HIV-related infections, including bacterial pneumonia.
Making a commitment to a smoke-free life is especially important during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), being a current or former smoker increases your risk of having severe illness from COVID-19.
Here are some actions you can take:
- If you currently smoke, quit. If you used to smoke, don’t start again. If you’ve never smoked, don’t start.
- Counseling from a provider and FDA-approved medications can double your chances of quitting smoking.
- For help quitting smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit smokefree.gov.
- Call your healthcare provider if you have concerns or feel sick.
- If you don’t have a healthcare provider, contact your nearest community health center or health department.
- Read our HIV Basics page: Smoking and People with HIV
- Read CDC’s information about Smoking and Tobacco Use