Medicine

How Many Cigarettes Are In A Bottle Of Wine?

How Many Cigarettes Are In A Bottle Of Wine?

A new study claims that drinking a bottle of wine a week has the same lifetime cancer risk for women as smoking 10 cigarettes. After all, 1 percent or so might not seem so startling when you consider lifetime risk for men and women in the United Kingdom already stands at 50 percent.

Drinking a bottle of wine per week may be like smoking five to 10 cigarettes in the same time period, in terms of cancer risk, according to a new study from the United Kingdom.

They estimated that, among nonsmokers, drinking one bottle of wine per week is tied to a 1.0 percent increase in lifetime cancer risk for men; and a 1.4 percent increase in lifetime cancer risk for women. They show that drinking even moderate levels of alcohol leads to a relatively greater cancer risk in women than in men, due to the link of alcohol with breast cancer.

The researchers used lifetime cancer risk data from Cancer Research UK, previously published data on the number of cancers in the population that can be attributed to tobacco and alcohol, and relative cancer risk data for moderate levels of alcohol and tobacco use.

Dr Minouk Schoemaker, scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, who conducts research into the causes of breast cancer, said the study offered an "interesting insight" but the picture was not simple.

"Yet, in contrast to smoking, this is not widely understood by the public".

"We hope by using cigarettes as the comparator we could communicate this message more effectively to help individuals make more informed lifestyle choices".

The authors caution that the study is not a comparison of the overall mortality of smoking versus alcohol as it did not take into account other non-cancer smoking or alcohol-related outcomes, such as respiratory, cardiovascular or liver disease.

The study authors note that this research does not suggest that drinking alcohol in moderation is in any way equivalent to smoking.

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Dr Hydes said: "Our estimation of a cigarette equivalent for alcohol provides a useful measure for communicating possible cancer risks that exploits successful historical messaging on smoking. This study purely addresses cancer risk in isolation". The authors highlight that this in an important issue as breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women in the UK.

This risk was comparable to smoking five cigarettes per day for men and 10 for women.

"Viewing alcohol drinking in the same light as cigarette smoking may well result in a decrease in consumption and its related harms". Indeed, studies in both the US and United Kingdom have found that many people aren't aware of alcohol's link to cancer.

Cancer Research UK added that smoking causes many more types of cancer, while John Britton, director of the UK centre for tobacco and alcohol studies at the University of Nottingham, said smoking is substantially more hazardous than alcohol consumption.

And if 1,000 men and 1,000 women drank three bottles of wine per week throughout their lives, around 19 men and 36 women would develop cancer as a result.

"If smokers are anxious about their health, the best thing they can do is quit smoking".

"Research is clear - the less a person drinks, the lower the risk of cancer". Smoking is also far more hazardous than alcohol in relation to a range of other diseases.

The research follows a further study released previous year which found that people who enjoy the odd alcoholic drink are less likely to suffer a premature death than those who don't drink at all.