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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown University Study Explores the Characteristics of Intermittent and Daily Smokers in a Sample of Heavy-drinking, HIV-infected MSM

The prevalence of cigarette smoking remains high among persons living with HIV, in particular among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Smoking among persons living with HIV has been linked to increased rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other pulmonary diseases. In fact, a recent study concluded that persons living with HIV lost more years due to smoking than to HIV infection itself.

[Photo: Dr. Patricia Cioe]

Most smoking studies in persons living with HIV have only focused on smoking status, and have not considered the frequency of use, or discriminated between daily smokers and intermittent smokers, even though upwards of one-third of smokers in the U.S. do not smoke daily.

The purpose of this study, led by Dr. Patricia Cioe, assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences, was to compare the quit intentions of daily smokers and intermittent smokers, in a population of heavy-drinking, HIV-infected men who have sex with men.

The researchers found that, compared to daily smokers, intermittent smokers were significantly more likely to report future quit intentions (within six months). Daily smokers were more likely to report immediate quit intentions (within 30 days) compared to future quit intentions. Furthermore, compared with daily smokers, intermittent smokers were more likely to be White and have a college degree or higher. Daily smokers reported significantly higher average number of drinks compared to both intermittent smokers and nonsmokers.

Considering that smoking in intermittent smokers way be less driven by nicotine dependence, tailored approaches to smoking cessation may be needed. Specifically, it may be important for interventions for intermittent smokers to address social and situational cues to smoke, including the influence of heavy alcohol on smoking behaviors, and to provide information regarding the adverse health effects of even low-level smoking.

This study was published in AIDS Care.

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