Smoking and HIV: Why is this combination dangerous?

Do you want to quit smoking? The situation is worsen, because you have HIV? You can do it! What tips are the best? You’ll find out everything you wanted to know about smoking and HIV here!

Smoking and HIV

Due to the improved access to the antiretroviral treatment the life expectancy of people with HIV has increased, their health has improved. However, a lot of HIV-infected people are smokers. If you have HIV and you smoke, thereby you expose your body to additional stress. As a result smoking may cause a lot of serious health problems, such as lung cancer, stroke and heart disease. Quitting smoking is an important step necessary for your own health. Smoking and HIV cannot ‘live together’ for sure.

Smoking with HIV. The effect of smoking on the body of HIV infected person

HIV infected person smoking

Smoking harms not only the throat and lungs, but also the cardiovascular system and other organs. The human body has almost no organ, which would not be harmed with the use of tobacco products. It is worth to know that smoking is more harmful for HIV-positive people than for others. They already have problems, but they create some new ones. Further you will find the provided details, how tobacco use affects them.

Smoking and HIV positive people: consequences

Smoking and HIV positive

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1. Sores in the mouth / oral cancer

People with HIV can more easily get inflammation and ulcers in the mouth, on the tongue and lips (eg candidiasis) than in -infected individuals. Smoking makes the situation worse and can lead to problems with the teeth, gingival inflammation and cancer of the oral cavity.

2. The immune system

smoking in black

Antiretroviral treatment helps improve the body's resistance and the person becomes less susceptible to various kinds of infections. However, smoking weakens the immune system and disease control becomes more difficult.

3. Lung disease / lung cancer

Smokers with HIV often become sick with lung cancer, bronchitis and other lung diseases than other smokers. Smokers get also higher risk of developing of different pneumonias, occurring in less protected organism (low immunity).

4. Emphysema

HIV-infected smokers

HIV-infected smokers are more likely to get emphysema. Bloating pulmonary or emphysema damages the wall of pulmonary alveoli and makes it difficult to breath. Emphysema can cause pulmonary diseases with a fatal outcome.

5. The problems of the cardiovascular system

Antiretroviral treatment can increase the amount of fat and cholesterol in the blood. Fats and cholesterol impede blood circulation, increase blood pressure and exert increased pressure on the heart. It may increase the risk of heart disease, heart attack or brain hemorrhage. Smoking can aggravate these problems even more.

6. Other diseases and cancer

red ribbon

Smoking harms the stomach, kidneys, liver, pancreas and bladder. People, infected with HIV and hepatitis C, make great harm to the liver, if they also smoke.

Cigarette smoke. What is it?

Cigarette smoke

In cigarettes there are about 4,000 chemicals and compounds (such as toluen, methanol, ammonia, acetic acid, hexamine, methane, saturated fatty acid, carbon monoxide, arsenic, nicotine, cadmium, butane, and many others). A lot of them can cause serious health problems, including cancer. Cigarettes also contain nicotine. Nicotine does not provoke cancer, but it is very addictive.

Smoking and stress

Smoking and stress

HIV infection can cause stress, melancholy and depression. You may feel that smoking helps you to relax, not to think about the problems and deal with stress. However, smoking affects your overall health. Giving up smoking will become a great service to your health.

Quitting smoking is good for your health

Quitting smoking is good

Quitting smoking has a positive effect on you and others:


  • your immune system and blood circulation improves within three months;
  • quitting smoking increases the action of anti-retroviral treatment;
  • in one year the risk of heart attack decreases by half;
  • you have more energy, less colds and other infections;
  • you save a lot of money: smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for a year makes you spend hundreds of nairas.

Family and Friends:

sad habbit

  • you are protecting your health. Those who inhale smoke from other smoking people's have higher risk of developing lung cancer and heart disease than those, who are not in the company of smokers;
  • you protect children from asthma and other problems with the respiratory tract, as well as to give them a positive example;
  • you spend more time together, for example, in training and areas for non-smoking people.

Preparing for quitting smoking

shocking smoking

Smoking is an addiction, quitting which can be very difficult. Most people try to quit several times before they get it. For some people, smoking addiction can be just as strong as alcohol or drug addiction. But you can still give up smoking with good preparation. Here are some tips to help you prepare to quit smoking and follow your goal.

1. Are you ready to quit? Quitting smoking is easier, if you are ready for this and really want to do it. For a start, make a plan for quitting. Write down all the reasons why you want to quit, and all that you will do engaged instead of smoking.

2. Set the date of quitting. Select a date in about a month from now. Give yourself time to prepare to quit smoking.

3. Find support. Tell your family, friends and colleagues that you are going to quit smoking, so they can help you to comply with this decision.

4. Ask for help from a doctor or a consultant, or contact the office for smoking cessation. Talk about your decision to quit smoking with your doctor or consultant for smoking cessation. They can provide information about nicotine replacement and other methods, which can help you stop smoking.

Tips for successful quitting smoking:

successful quitting smoking

  • Clean the house, car and workplace from all ashtrays, cigarettes, and other things related to smoking.
  • Do not let people smoke in your home or car. Ask smokers not to smoke ‘under your nose’.
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee or other things that you normally do while smoking.

smoking every day

  • The body will have a lot of positive changes: breathing becomes easier, the sense of smell and sense of taste improve. Some changes may cause discomfort, such as: a large craving for cigarettes, cough, nervousness, difficult thinking and sleeping disorders. These things will quickly disappear.
  • Feeling the need to smoke, start something that will distract you from thoughts of smoking - try to take deep breaths, go for a short walk or do something else that will distract you. Call a friend or relative who will listen to you and support.
  • Reward yourself: mark each day spent without smoking on your calendar.

What is the best way to quit smoking for a person with HIV?

quit smoking

A lot of things depend on your willingness or desire to quit smoking. People with HIV may need some more help, as some special needs may occur while taking medicines. Heavy smokers, that is, people with a strong nicotine addiction (a pack or more per day) cannot quit easily. Here are some suggestions:

Quitting today

moking for a person

Those who are able to quit today have great willpower. Most people manage to quit smoking using nicotine alternates, medicines and consultations.

There are several ideas for nicotine replacement:

nicotine replacement

Nicotine patches. They are pasted as usual plasters. They give your body nicotine in small doses until the attacks stop nicotine hunger. The patches are sold in pharmacies without a prescription, but before use you should consult a pharmacist or a consultant.

Nicotine gum. They are used to relieve the nicotine hunger. Nicotine gum is sold in pharmacies without a prescription, but it is necessary to consult with the consultant on smoking cessation for the correct use.


white cigarette smoke

There are medications that can help reduce nicotine hunger, nervousness and anxiety during smoking cessation. This drug is sold by prescription.


Smoking man

Using anti-retroviral drugs, you should go to see a doctor or other provider and to can ask them for advice and help in quitting smoking. If it is necessary, you can consult the certain person on smoking cessation, where a professional consultant will assist you while your difficult quitting and help not to lose the way to your decision.

Smoking and ban

If you cannot quit on the first try, do not worry - you are not alone. A lot of people have tried to quit smoking for several times before achieving success. Starting smoking again, try to figure out why you have done it and learn from your mistakes. Do not give up - assign a new date for quitting and start again. You should not create more problems for your health, which may cause serious diseases in future. Millions of people were able to quit smoking. You can do it too! Think about your health today!

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