Smoking and HIV
Smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer, other cancers, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and other diseases, and of dying early. For these reasons, smoking is an important health issue for everyone, but it is a greater concern for people living with HIV, who tend to smoke more than the general population.
About 1 in 5 U.S. adults smoke. Among adults living with HIV, the number of people who smoke is 2 to 3 times greater. Smoking has many negative health effects on people who are living with HIV. For example, smokers living with HIV:
- Are at higher risk than nonsmokers with HIV of developing lung cancer, head and neck cancers, cervical and anal cancers, and other cancers;
- Are more likely than nonsmokers with HIV to develop bacterial pneumonia, Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia, COPD, and heart disease;
- Are more likely than nonsmokers with HIV to develop conditions that affect the mouth, such as oral candidiasis (thrush) and oral hairy leukoplakia; and
- Have a poorer response to antiretroviral therapy (ART).
People with HIV who smoke have a greater chance of developing a life-threatening illness that leads to an AIDS diagnosis. People who smoke and live with HIV also have a shorter lifespan than people living with HIV who do not smoke.
Find Help with Quitting Smoking
Talk with your health care provider about programs and products that can help you quit smoking.
Quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for tobacco users, including people living with HIV. These benefits include:
- Lowering your risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and stroke,
- Reducing HIV-related symptoms, and
- Having an improved quality of life.
You can learn about the benefits of quitting smoking and get tips for quitting from CDC’s national tobacco education campaign—Tips From Former Smokers (Tips). The Tips campaign profiles real people—not actors—who are living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. You can also view a story and tips from a person living with HIV who quit smoking.
Visit betobaccofree.hhs.gov or call the Smoking Quitline: 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848) for more information on the many health benefits of quitting smoking. For help from your state quitline, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).