For People Living with HIV

Not sure you want to quit? We get it!

If you’re a person living with HIV, you may have already been told that you should quit smoking. We know it’s not that simple.

Check out our Positive Quitting video. It starts with a person living with HIV talking about the things he loves about smoking—the calming effect, the appetite control, the stress relief. Adrian is aware of his addiction, and says that when he does quit, it will be because he wants to, not because he has to.

Then Shannon Carney, a Toronto Public Health nurse, talks about how there is no such thing as “failing” at quitting (it’s true!), and Sean Rourke, Executive Director of the OHTN, talks about how important it is to help people make healthy choices—when they’re ready to do so.

Smoking as an HIV issue

Do you know that, for the first time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has included a person living with HIV in its Tips from Former Smokers campaign? Click below to watch Brian’s story about having a smoking-related stroke—and how he now sees quitting as one of the greatest things that a person living with HIV can do to protect their health.

A first-person story

For a first-person take on quitting smoking, read editor Bob Leahy’s article: How to Say ‘I Quit’—and Mean It. Bob is one of the founders of Positive Quitting, and he talks about how his views on smoking began to change after the introduction of antiretroviral therapy in 1996—and how his “failed” quit attempts actually led to success.

Reproduced with the permission of CATIE.

Expert perspectives on smoking and HIV

In this video, cardiovascular expert Dr. Marek Smieja and addictions expert Dr. Peter Selby talk about the health effects of smoking and why quitting is so hard. Learn more about smoking and ART, and how quitting smoking can reduce depression and anxiety – leaving you (in the long run) feeling much better!


We know that many smokers living with HIV want to quit. Here are some resources to get you started.


The Canadian Cancer Society has special information for gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who smoke.

It also offers “One Step at a Time” booklets for:

Smokers’ Helpline

The Canadian Cancer Society runs a help and information line about quitting smoking.

Smokers’ Helpline can be reached at or at 1-877-513-5333.

The Smokers’ Helpline website also offers:

Mobile App

Health Canada offers the Break It Off mobile app, which helps you:

  • identify triggers
  • overcome cravings
  • track your “break up” progress in real time
  • calculate how much money you’re saving by not smoking

A variety of apps are also available to help you on your quit journey.