Cigarette smoking prevalence among adults with HIV compared with the general adult population in the United States: cross-sectional surveys

Ann Intern Med. 2015 Mar 3;162(5):335-44. doi: 10.7326/M14-0954.


Background: The negative health effects of cigarette smoking and HIV infection are synergistic.

Objective: To compare the prevalence of current cigarette smoking and smoking cessation between adults with HIV receiving medical care and adults in the general population.

Design: Nationally representative cross-sectional surveys.

Setting: United States.

Patients: 4217 adults with HIV who participated in the Medical Monitoring Project and 27 731 U.S. adults who participated in the National Health Interview Survey in 2009.

Measurements: The main exposure was cigarette smoking. The outcome measures were weighted prevalence of cigarette smoking and quit ratio (ratio of former smokers to the sum of former and current smokers).

Results: Of the estimated 419 945 adults with HIV receiving medical care, 42.4% (95% CI, 39.7% to 45.1%) were current cigarette smokers, 20.3% (CI, 18.6% to 22.1%) were former smokers, and 37.3% (CI, 34.9% to 39.6%) had never smoked. Compared with the U.S. adult population, in which an estimated 20.6% of adults smoked cigarettes in 2009, adults with HIV were nearly twice as likely to smoke (adjusted prevalence difference, 17.0 percentage points [CI, 14.0 to 20.1 percentage points]) but were less likely to quit smoking (quit ratio, 32.4% vs. 51.7%). Among adults with HIV, factors independently associated with greater smoking prevalence were older age, non-Hispanic white or non-Hispanic black race, lower educational level, poverty, homelessness, incarceration, substance use, binge alcohol use, depression, and not achieving a suppressed HIV viral load.

Limitation: Cross-sectional design with some generalizability limitations.

Conclusion: Adults with HIV were more likely to smoke and less likely to quit smoking than the general adult population. Tobacco screening and cessation strategies are important considerations as part of routine HIV care.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / ethnology
  • Homeless Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Prevalence
  • Prisons / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking / ethnology
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Viral Load
  • Young Adult