By Corinne Rivard
December 2017–January 2018
Smoking has negative consequences on health and wellness, and studies have shown that people with HIV are more likely to smoke, and less likely to stop smoking compared to people without HIV1. In addition, people with HIV have a higher relative risk of smoking-related cancer compared to those without HIV2. Quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease) among people with HIV3. As such, quitting smoking should be a priority.
There are a variety of strategies and lifestyle changes that can help you quit smoking4, such as:
Strategies for quitting smoking which involve medications should not be undertaken without a detailed discussion with your healthcare provider.
Importantly, studies in the general population have shown that once you quit smoking the benefits to your heart increase with time5.
Research is still ongoing about whether the use of electronic cigarettes (or E-cigarettes) is an effective method for quitting smoking. E-cigarettes vaporize nicotine rather than burning tobacco, which is known to have many toxic agents10. Dr. Nancy Rigotti, Director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Tobacco Research and Treatment Center stated11, “We don’t yet know if e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking… but for adults having a hard time quitting, e-cigarettes have the theoretical potential to join the array of already approved methods to quit tobacco”.
The silver lining is that there are already many methods to help you quit smoking! Have a conversation with your healthcare provider about the best methods that could help you quit smoking.