Perceptions and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on the HIV/TOBACCO Program You can quit! We can help!


Perceptions is proud to partner with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the HIV/TOBACCO Program. This program provides tobacco cessation courses, education, awareness, and presentations to the public and AIDS Service Organizations in the Great Lakes Bay Region, and reaches as far as Traverse City and Marquette. Tobacco use is the #1 killer of the LGBT community and reduces the lives of all, but particularly those living with HIV. For more information or assistance, please contact Perceptions at

1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). The Michigan Tobacco QuitLine is a FREE online service available to Michigan residents. Tell them PERCEPTIONS sent you!

Please visit the Michigan Department of Community Health Tobacco Control Program website for more information.

HIV and Smoking

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States, causing nearly one out of five deaths in the United States each year.

Smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer and other cancers, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and other diseases, and of dying early.

For these reasons, smoking is a significant health issue for all individuals, but it is even more of a concern for people living with HIV, who tend to smoke more than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 15% of adults in the United States are smokers. However, the smoking rate is two to three times higher among adults who are HIV-positive.

If you smoke and you HIV, you’re more likely to get HIV-related infections, including:

  • Thrush (a mouth infection, also called oral candidiasis)
  • Hairy leukoplakia (white mouth sores)
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Pneumocystis pneumonia (a dangerous lung infection)

Smoking when you have HIV also makes you more likely to get other serious illnesses than nonsmokers with HIV. These illnesses can make you too sick to work (disabled) or even lead to early death. They include:

  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a serious lung disease that causes severe breathing problems and includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis)
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Lung cancer, head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, and anal cancer
  • People with HIV who smoke are also less likely to keep to their HIV treatment plan.

Also see the HRSA Guide for HIV/AIDS Clinical Care: Smoking Cessation (2014) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) HIV Patient and Provider Smoking Cessation Resources.

I’m thinking about quitting, but even just thinking about it is making me anxious. What should I do?

Quitting works best when you’re prepared. Before you quit‚ START by taking these five important steps:

  • S = Set a quit date.
  • T = Tell family‚ friends‚ and coworkers that you plan to quit.
  • A = Anticipate and plan for the challenges you’ll face while quitting.
  • R = Remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home‚ car‚ and work.
  • T = Talk to your doctor about getting help to quit.

For more information, visit

HIV/LGBTQ Tobacco Links

The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for all tobacco users, including those living with HIV/AIDS. Quitting reduces your chances of developing disease, helps you feel better, and improves your quality of life.

Also, stay away from secondhand smoke, which is smoke in the air from other people smoking. Secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on your blood and blood vessels, which can raise your risk for a heart attack. People who already have heart disease are at especially high risk for a heart attack. Secondhand smoke can also cause a stroke or lead to lung cancer.

Talk with your health care provider about programs and products that can help you quit.

For more information on the many health benefits of quitting smoking, visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website.