HIV and Smoking Cessation

Updated:Sep 16,2015

Featured Videos

The Decision to Live Smoke-Free Image for Video Play Button (Arrow) for Video The Decision to Live Smoke-Free
Length: 3:54

Mychael Patterson describes his road to smoke-free living. His encouraging words are not only helpful for smokers, but for anyone battling the pull of addictive behaviors. Watch, be encouraged, and make changes in your own life, one day at a time.


HIV and Your Smoking Risks Image for Video Play Button (Arrow) for Video HIV and Your Smoking Risks
Length: 2:41

Dr. Marshall Glesby, HIV researcher and clinical practitioner offers tangible reasons for every person living with HIV to consider doing whatever it takes to put down the cigarettes and start living a healthier, smoke-free life.

You will improve your health when you quit smoking

The benefits of quitting smoking are well documented. In fact, If you quit smoking, your body begins to mend the damage from the smoke right away and puts you on the path to healthy living. But if you have HIV, there are even greater reasons to quit, including improving the effectiveness of HIV medications. Discover more about the effects of smoking, the unexpected benefits of quitting and what you can do to quit today. 

The effects of smoking

The price for smoking is high for anyone, HIV positive or HIV negative. It harms your body. However, if you have HIV, continuing to smoke is likely to harm your body even more. Here's why.

Smoking worsens artery problems

Many people with HIV also have high cholesterol and fats in the blood that can build up on the walls of your blood vessels. These fats can turn into plaque and clog arteries, putting pressure on your blood vessels. When you add cigarette smoking to this, it increases the problems and the risks for a heart attack or stroke.

Smoking can weaken your immune system

If you have HIV, you are probably taking antiretroviral medication to help strengthen your immune system so you can fight off illnesses. However, smoking has the reverse effect; it can weaken your immune system. You are more likely to increase your risks if you keep smoking because your body will have a harder time fighting off infections.

Smoking harms your lungs and increases your risk for cancer

Smokers with HIV are more likely to get cancer, emphysema, and infections in the lungs like pneumonia than smokers without HIV. But all smokers are at greater risk than non-smokers.