Smoking Health Risks
Smoking and HIV
People with HIV disease are more likely to smoke than healthy people. Smoking can interfere with normal lung function in healthy people. In people with HIV, smoking can make it more difficult to fight off serious infections. People with HIV diseases are now living longer. Smoking and related problems can interfere with long term quality of life.
Smoking weakens the immune system. It can make it harder to fight off HIV-related infections. This is especially true for infections related to the lungs. This is a risk for smoking marijuana as well as tobacco. Having HIV increases the risk of chronic lung disease. Smoking can interfere with processing of medications by liver. It can also worsen liver problems like hepatitis. People with HIV who smoke are more likely to suffer complications from HIV medication than those who don't. For example, those who smoke are more likely to experience nausea and vomiting from taking HIV medications.
Smoking increases the risk of some long-term side effects of HIV disease and treatment. These include osteoporosis( weak bones that can lead to fractures, and osteonecrosis ( bone death) HIV treatment slightly increases the risk of heart attack, but smoking is the major controllable risk factor for heart attacks or strokes. Recent studies found that quitting smoking reduced heart attack risk in HIV patients more than other factors such as changes in medication.
Are you one of most smokers who want to quit? Then try following this advice.
Five Keys for Quitting Smoking
Studies have shown that these five steps will help you quit and quit for good. You have the best chances of quitting if you use them together.
1. Get Ready
• Set a quit date.
• Change your environment.
◦ Get rid of ALL cigarettes and ashtrays in your home, car, and place of work.
◦ Don't let people smoke in your home.
• Review your past attempts to quit. Think about what worked and what did not.
• Once you quit, don't smoke—NOT EVEN A PUFF!
2. Get Support and Encouragement
Studies have shown that you have a better chance of being successful if you have help. You can get support in many ways:
• Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you are going to quit and want their support. Ask them not to smoke around you or leave cigarettes out where you can see them.
• Talk to your health care provider (e.g., doctor, dentist, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist, or smoking cessation coach or counselor).
• Get individual, group, or telephone counseling. Counseling doubles your chances of success.
3. Learn New Skills and Behaviors
• Try to distract yourself from urges to smoke. Talk to someone, go for a walk, or get busy with a task.
• When you first try to quit, change your routine. Use a different route to work. Drink tea instead of coffee. Eat breakfast in a different place.
• Do something to reduce your stress. Take a hot bath, exercise, or read a book.
• Plan something enjoyable to do every day.
• Drink a lot of water and other fluids.
4. Get Medication and Use It Correctly
Medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke.
• The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved seven medications to help you quit smoking:
◦ Bupropion SR—Available by prescription.
◦ Nicotine gum—Available over-the-counter.
◦ Nicotine inhaler—Available by prescription.
◦ Nicotine nasal spray—Available by prescription.
◦ Nicotine patch—Available by prescription and over-the-counter.
◦ Nicotine lozenge—Available over-the-counter.
◦ Varenicline tartrate—Available by prescription.
• Ask your health care provider for advice and carefully read the information on the package.
• All of these medications will at least double your chances of quitting and quitting for good.
• Nearly everyone who is trying to quit can benefit from using a medication. However, if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, younger than 18 years of age, smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, or have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or other health care provider before taking medications.
5. Be Prepared for Relapse or Difficult Situations
Most relapses occur within the first 3 months after quitting. Don't be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember, most people try several times before they finally quit. The following are some difficult situations you may encounter:
• Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking lowers your chances of success.
• Other smokers: Being around smoking can make you want to smoke.
• Weight gain: Many smokers will gain some weight when they quit, usually less than 10 pounds. Eat a healthy diet and stay active. Don't let weight gain distract you from your main goal—quitting smoking. Some quit-smoking medications may help delay weight gain.
• Bad mood or depression: There are a lot of ways to improve your mood other than smoking. Some smoking cessation medications also lessen depression.
If you are having problems with any of these situations, talk to your doctor or other health care provider.
Special Situations or Conditions
Your situation or condition can give you a special reason to quit.
• Pregnant women/new mothers. By quitting, you protect your baby's health and your own.
• Hospitalized patients. By quitting, you reduce health problems and help healing.
• Heart attack patients. By quitting, you reduce your risk of a second heart attack.
• Lung, head, and neck cancer patients. By quitting, you reduce your chance of a second cancer.
• Parents of children and adolescents. By quitting, you protect your children and adolescents from illnesses caused by secondhand smoke and reduce the likelihood that they will start to smoke.