Tobacco use and readiness to quit smoking in low-income HIV-infected persons

Jack E. Burkhalter, Carolyn M. Springer, Rosy Chhabra, Jamie S. Ostroff, Bruce D. Rapkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations


The study aim was to identify covariates of smoking status and readiness to quit that encompassed key sociodemographic and health status variables, health-related quality of life, drug use and unprotected sex, and tobacco use variables in a cohort of low-income persons living with HIV. We also examined the impact of HIV diagnosis on smoking cessation. The sample (N=428) was mostly male (59%) and Black (53%) or Hispanic (30%), and had a high school education or less (87%). Mean age was 40 years. Two-thirds of participants were current smokers, 19% former smokers, and 16% never smokers. Current smokers smoked a mean of 16 cigarettes/day for 22 years; 42% were in the precontemplation stage of readiness to quit smoking, 40% were contemplators, and 18% were in preparation. Most current smokers (81%) reported receiving medical advice to quit smoking. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicated that current smokers, compared with former smokers, were more likely to use illicit drugs, perceive a lower health risk for continued smoking, and report less pain. Current smokers, compared with nonsmokers (former and never smokers), were more likely to report greater illicit drug use in their lifetime, current illicit drug use, and less pain. A multiple linear regression indicated that greater current illicit drug use, greater emotional distress, and a lower number of quit attempts were associated with lower stage of readiness to quit smoking. These findings confirm a high prevalence of smoking among HIV-infected persons and suggest a complex interplay among drug use, pain, and emotional distress that impact smoking status and, among smokers, readiness to quit. Tobacco control programs for HIV-infected persons should build motivation to quit smoking and address salient barriers to cessation - such as comorbid drug use, emotional distress, pain, and access to and coverage for treatment - and should educate smokers regarding the HIV-specific health benefits of cessation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-522
Number of pages12
JournalNicotine and Tobacco Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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