The Open AIDS Journal

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Use of Smoking Cessation Aids in a Convenience Sample of PLHIV in a Canadian Tertiary Care Clinic

Blake Linthwaite1, Joseph Cox1, 2, Marina B. Klein1, 2, Hansi Peiris1, Syim Salahuddin1, 3, Jean-Pierre Routy1, 2, Bertrand Lebouché1, 2, Marie-Josée Brouillette1, 2, Jason Szabo1, Andreas Giannakis1, Roger LeBlanc1, Sean Gilman1, 4, Cecilia T. Costiniuk1, 2, *
1 Chronic Viral Illnesses Service, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec Canada, Royal Victoria Hospital: Glen Site; 1001 boulevard Decarie, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 3J1 Canada
2 Research Institute, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3 Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Quebec, Canada
4 Division of Respirology, McGill University Health Centre, Royal Victoria Hospital: Glen Site; 1001 boulevard Decarie, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 3J1, Canada



Tobacco smoking is among the most significant predictors of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer in People Living with HIV (PLHIV). Smoking rates in this population are high, necessitating more effective smoking cessation strategies. We conducted a descriptive analysis of tobacco-related clinical and sociodemographic characteristics of smokers at a tertiary care HIV clinic in Montreal and an exploratory analysis of smoking cessation methods in order to identify potential areas of improvement in the clinic’s approach to smoking cessation.


A convenience sample of patients completed a 10-minute questionnaire on tobacco-related behaviours and outcomes. Use of smoking cessation methods was compared using McNemar’s exact test with a Bonferroni correction for multiple testing (p<0.01 considered significant).


Seventy-two PLHIV participated. Two-thirds of our total participants were interested in quitting within six months, but the use of effective cessation strategies was low, particularly for counseling and oral therapy. Overall, oral therapy (e.g. varenicline) (16.7%) and counseling for cessation (5.6%) were used less than nicotine patches (50.0%) or ‘other’ methods (50.0%), which included abstinence and nicotine gum (p<0.001).


Despite a small and potentially unrepresentative sample of HIV positive tobacco smokers at our clinic, this study could help guide further research aiming to determine and address barriers to smoking cessation and access to effective smoking cessation aids in PLHIV. Future studies might consider factors that affect motivation to quit, such as co-morbid mental health and substance use disorders, or the attitudes of HIV healthcare providers.

Keywords: Tobacco smoking, Tobacco cessation, HIV, Smoking cessation, Co-morbidity, Clinical improvement, PLHIV.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2019
Volume: 13
First Page: 1
Last Page: 6
Publisher Id: TOAIDJ-13-1
DOI: 10.2174/1874613601913010001

Article History:

Received Date: 01/11/2018
Revision Received Date: 16/12/2018
Acceptance Date: 28/12/2018
Electronic publication date: 29/1/2019
Collection year: 2019

© 2019 Linthwaite et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Division of Infectious Diseases and Chronic Viral Illness Service, Royal Victoria Hospital: Glen Site; 1001 boulevard Decarie, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 3J1; Tel: 514-843-2090; Fax: 514-843-2092; E-mail:

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