New user? Sign up here |
Smoking, Tobacco Use, and HIV: The Great American Smokeout (Third Thursday in November)

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the Great American Smokeout is commemorated on the third Thursday of November. 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 substantial research on the effects of smoking and other tobacco use on 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 significantly 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. 

Some recent studies have also indicated that HIV+ smokers who receive 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 smoking, tobacco use, and HIV, we have compiled an annotated list of online resources focusing on these topics, as well as smoking cessation.

Smoking, Tobacco Use, and HIV

Smoking [and HIV] – This webpage from focuses on the effects of smoking on people with HIV, the benefits of quitting smoking, getting help to quit smoking, smoking and COVID-19, and e-cigarettes.

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.

Tobacco and HIV – This webpage from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides recent statistics on tobacco use and HIV in the U.S. and worldwide. Also included is information about recent NCI funding for tobacco and HIV research, with particular emphasis on improving smoking cessation interventions among persons with HIV. The page has links to descriptions of more than 20 international grants focusing on HIV and tobacco use.

Kicking the Habit: HIV and Smoking – This U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs webpage provides information about programs and services available to U.S. veterans who would like to quit smoking. A companion HIV and Tobacco Use fact sheet answers common questions about smoking and HIV.

Smoking and HIV – This article from AIDSmap provides information about the general health impacts of smoking, the specific effects of smoking on persons with HIV, and the benefits and options for quitting smoking. This resource also links to summaries of recent research studies related to the impacts of smoking on persons with HIV. Although AIDSmap is a U.K.-based source, the information is generally applicable to smokers with HIV who live in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Smoking and Tobacco Use [and HIV] – This 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.

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, covers 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 U.S. federal government programs and other health campaigns designed to help people stop smoking. Some of these resources focus on particular groups, including: people with HIV; adults with disabilities; African American people; American Indian/Alaska Native people; Asian Americans; caregivers; Hispanic/Latino people, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people; military personnel and their families; people with mental health conditions; and women who are pregnant or planning for a pregnancy. The main web page is also available in Spanish.

General Information About Smoking and Tobacco Use

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 gives 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.

Quit Smoking, Vaping, and Tobacco Use: Ending Tobacco Use and Nicotine Addiction – This webpage from the American Heart Association includes: information about quitting smoking; materials specifically for educators, parents of school-age children, and youth; smoking and heart disease in women; public policy resources; and recent scientific research on the health effects of tobacco products and their constituents.

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