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2020 Great American Smokeout (November 19)

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the Great American Smokeout is commemorated on the third Thursday of November, which is November 19 this year.  The Smokeout is a national event, organized by the American Cancer Society, that challenges people to stop smoking tobacco for one day as a first step toward quitting permanently.  

There is a substantial body of research on smoking and other tobacco use among people with HIV.  In the U.S., a higher proportion of HIV+ persons are smokers compared to the uninfected general population.  As a result, the incidence of smoking-related cancers and cardiovascular disease is substantially higher among HIV+ persons than among uninfected persons.  Since smoking also weakens the immune system, HIV+ smokers are more susceptible to some opportunistic illnesses – including thrush, bacterial pneumonia, and pneumocystis pneumonia – than HIV+ nonsmokers.  

In addition, some recent studies have indicated that HIV+ smokers receiving effective antiretroviral treatment are more likely to die from smoking-related causes than from HIV-related illnesses.  

To help you, your colleagues, and patients or clients become more informed about this topic, we have compiled an annotated list of online resources focusing on smoking and HIV, as well as smoking cessation.


General Information

Smoking and Tobacco Use [and HIV] – This online fact sheet from TheWellProject includes extensive information about the specific health impacts of smoking and other tobacco use on persons with HIV, how quitting smoking can improve health, and options for people who would like to quit. 

Smoking [and HIV] – This webpage from includes information about smoking rates among people with HIV, as well as the ways in which smoking affects them. 

Smoking and HIV – This online fact sheet from CDC contains basic information about both smoking and HIV, as well as their combined effects on the health of people with HIV.  It is also available in Spanish. 

HIV and Your Lungs – This fact sheet from Poz describes the effects of HIV on the lungs, as well as the potential lung health benefits of different interventions including quitting smoking, engaging in aerobic exercise, eating well, receiving recommended vaccinations, and taking preventive medications, when appropriate. 

HIV and Smoking – This fact sheet, also from Poz, focuses on smoking triggers, the importance of support systems for people who would like to quit, and the different options available for smoking cessation. 

How to Quit Smoking – This CDC page describes and links to about a dozen U.S. federal government programs and other health campaigns designed to help people stop smoking. Some of these resources focus on particular groups, including women, veterans, teens, people over 60, people who speak Spanish, and military personnel and their families. 

The Great American Smokeout – This is the American Cancer Society’s official website for the Smokeout event. It provides extensive information on the number of smokers in the U.S., as well as the number of cases of smoking-related illnesses and deaths here. The page also provides background about the Smokeout event itself, the benefits of quitting, encouragement and tips for people who would like to quit, and the various smoking cessation options that are available. 

Vaping/Quit Smoking/Tobacco – This webpage from the American Heart Association includes information about quitting smoking, as well as recent information about the health dangers of vaping. 

Quit Smoking – This is the American Lung Association’s resource page for smokers who would like to quit and for concerned family members and friends who would like to help loved ones quit.