, Volume 20, Issue 12, pp 1142-1145

The impact of cigarette smoking on mortality, quality of life, and comorbid illness among HIV-positive veterans

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BACKGROUND: The impact of smoking on outcomes among those with HIV infection has not been determined in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).

STUDY OBJECTIVE: Determine the impact of smoking on morbidity and mortality in HIV-positive patients post-HAART.

DESIGN: Prospective observational study.

PARTICIPANTS: Eight hundred and sixty-seven HIV-positive veterans enrolled in the Veterans Aging Cohort 3 Site Study.

MEASUREMENTS: Clinical data were collected through patient questionnaire, International Classification of Diseases—9th edition codes, and standardized chart extraction, and laboratory and mortality data through the national VA database. Quality of life was assessed with the physical component summary (PCS) of the Short-Form 12.

RESULTS: Current smokers had increased respiratory symptoms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and bacterial pneumonia. In analyses adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, CD4 cell count, HIV RNA level, hemoglobin, illegal drug and alcohol use, quality of life was substantially decreased (β=−3.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] −5.3 to −1.4) and mortality was significantly increased (hazard ratio 1.99, 95% CI 1.03 to 3.86) in current smokers compared with never smokers.

CONCLUSIONS: HIV-positive patients who currently smoke have increased mortality and decreased quality of life, as well as increased respiratory symptoms, COPD, and bacterial pneumonia. These findings suggest that smoking cessation should be emphasized for HIV-infected patients.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare for this article or this research.
Funding sources: Primary Funding Sources: National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse (3U01 AA 13566), National Institute of Aging (K23 AG00826), Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Faculty Scholar Award, and an Inter-agency Agreement between NIA, National Institute of Mental Health, and Veterans Health Affairs (Dr. Justice).