LANSING (WWJ) – About half of people living with HIV in Michigan are smokers, according to a new survey by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The survey — a joint project between 15 Michigan AIDS Service Organizations (ASO) and with 1,475 HIV positive  clients participating — also found that 59 percent of smokers are willing to quit smoking cigarette with guidance and support.

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“The general adult population in Michigan smokes at a rate of 21 percent, and we know that people living with HIV are smoking at a rate two to three times higher than that,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the MDHHS, in a media release.“

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“The partnership within the MDHHS tobacco and HIV programs is an excellent opportunity to improve access to science-based resources to help people living with HIV who want to quit smoking.”

According to the MDHHS, HIV has become a chronic disease due to the positive impact of antiretroviral medication, which lengthens and improves quality of life for people living with HIV.  However, studies show that people living with HIV who smoke cigarettes are dying 12 years sooner from smoking-related illness such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke, before dying of HIV complications.

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To learn more about tobacco use in Michigan including the survey results, visit the MDHHS Tobacco website at this link.  For help quitting smoking, click here.