Smoking and HIV

Recent Studies on smoking in people with HIV, published NAM Factsheet, fount that found that people living with HIV appear to metabolise nicotine at a faster rate than HIV-negative people.

This could explain why people with HIV are more likely to become smokers and find it harder to quit. People who metabolise nicotine at a slower rate smoke fewer cigarettes, are less dependent on nicotine and are more likely to succeed in quitting smoking. This was an innovative study – other researchers should try to do the same experiment and see if they get the same results.

The other study found that frequent cannabis smoking is a risk factor for lung disease in men with HIV, in addition to cigarette smoking as a risk factor. It is well known that people with HIV have an increased risk of lung disease. This is partly because of the high rates of smoking among HIV-positive individuals, as well as damage caused by HIV and immune suppression.

The research involved both HIV-positive and HIV-negative men. During ten years of follow-up, men living with HIV who had smoked cannabis every week for at least a year were more likely to have lung disease due to an infection (33%) than men living with HIV who did not use cannabis (22%). Similarly, cannabis smokers were more likely to have bronchitis (21%) than men who did not smoke cannabis (17%).

In contrast, in the men who did not have HIV, cannabis was not linked to either form of lung disease. This suggests that people with HIV are especially vulnerable to lung disease caused by cannabis smoking.

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