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Previously OPT-In wrote about the recent study to come out of CROI 2016 that showed the gap in life expectancy between people with HIV positive status versus negative status is closing. While it is closing, it’s not equal. In that disparity are a lot of factors to consider, as outlined in the study, but smoking cessation was a clear factor in shortening the life expectancy of someone who is HIV positive.

 

Smoking cessation is nothing new, even to Harrisburg. It’s been over ten years now since a smoking ban was put in place at all city owned public playgrounds and buildings. On average across the nation the percentage of smokers was 17% in 2014, a steady decrease from 20% in 2005. But when we look at the CDC numbers breaking smoking down by sexual orientation nearly 24%, or 1 in 4, of lesbian/gay/bisexual people (no statistics were available that specified transgender) were smokers.

 

lgbt smoking

 

This is important when examining the recent analysis by the CDC indicating that if current HIV infection rates continue 50% of all gay black men in America will test positive for HIV in their lifetime.

 

Quitting smoking and weight gain

An often heard complaint about quitting smoking is that people fear they will gain weight. Researcher Judith Rodin examined the topic and said, “Subjects who gained weight after cessation did not consume more calories but ate somewhat less protein and significantly more carbohydrate than quitters whose weights did not change.” in her published study. It’s more than just the calorie count that factors into weight loss, but also what type of calorie. Her research also indicated that whether a former smoker lost or gained weight, all of them had an increased desire for sweets.

 

But it’s so hard…

It is. Smoking is not an easy thing to kick, but it’s not impossible either! There are now, in the US, more former smokers than there are current smokers. It may require several attempts, but there are resources available to help you. Here’s a short list to get started with:

quit-tip

After that, start talking to people. Talk to friends and family that may have quit. They’ll not only have some advice, but understand how important a support team is in quitting smoking.