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Great American Smokeout: Opportunity for PLWH Who Smoke to Make a Plan to Quit

Poorer health outcomes and earlier deathTomorrow is the Great American Smokeout Exit Disclaimer, an annual observance organized by the American Cancer Society on the third Thursday of November, to encourage smokers to use the date to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. Because of the high prevalence of smoking among people living with HIV and the associated adverse health consequences, the Smokeout is a great opportunity to educate smokers living with HIV—and their friends, families, and care providers—about the benefits of quitting smoking.

Know the Facts

If you have HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS, smoking is especially dangerous to your health. If you smoke:

  • You’re more likely to develop the harmful consequences of smoking than people without HIV. These illnesses include cancer, heart disease, or stroke.
  • You’re more likely to develop HIV-related infections than a nonsmoker with HIV. These illnesses include thrush (a mouth infection) and Pneumocystis pneumonia, a dangerous lung infection.

Read about Brian’s story, which he shared via CDC’s Tips from Former Smokers.

Benefits of Quitting

Two-thirds smokers with HIV want to quitQuitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for all tobacco users, including those living with HIV/AIDS. Quitting reduces your chances of developing disease, helps you feel better, and improves your quality of life. “Quitting smoking may be one of the most important steps toward better health that a person living with HIV can take,” observed Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, in a prior blog post on smoking and HIV that is worth reviewing.

Learn More and Share offers several other related information sources. Take a look and share them!

  • Read’s page on Smoking & Tobacco Use, which is located in our HIV/AIDS Basics section on Staying Healthy with HIV/AIDS. Consider reviewing this page and, possibly, sharing it with others who may be considering the health benefits of quitting smoking. It details some resources available to help people quit smoking.
  • View our video Exit Disclaimer interview with Dr. Valdiserri and CDC’s Dr. Jono Mermin discussing the harmful effects of smoking among people living with HIV.

Feeling inspired?  Tips for developing a plan to quit smoking are available at