Bottle of wine equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes

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The latest study on the effects of wine on our health, published yesterday in BMC Public Health, found drinking just one bottle of wine each week (that's less than a glass each day) could have the same carcinogenic impact as smoking five cigarettes for men and 10 for women within the same time period.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University Hospital Southampton National Health Service Foundation Trust, Bangor University and the University of Southampton.

"This work confirms that, for most smokers, their smoking carries much greater risks for cancer than does alcohol for most drinkers".

BMC Public Health published a study Thursday which explained researchers in the United Kingdom determined that indulging in one bottle of wine each week has the same effect as a man smoking five cigarettes and a woman smoking 10 cigarettes.

A new study found that drinking a bottle of wine per week is equivalent to smoking as many as 10 cigarettes.

What are the cancer harms of alcohol?

"Moderate levels of drinking are in absolute terms particularly important for cancer risk in women, because they are associated with increased risk of breast cancer, which is very common (lifetime risk of 14%)".

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"Our estimation of a cigarette equivalent for alcohol provides a useful measure for communicating possible cancer risks that exploits successful historical messaging on smoking". The researchers discovered that these women had an increased risk of breast cancer.

"The overall picture of cancer risk is enormously complex and nuanced, so it's important to keep in mind that this new study is subject to a number of assumptions", she said.

This is due to the risk of cancer in parts of the body such as the bowel, liver and oesophagus.

"One bottle of wine per week is associated with an increased absolute lifetime risk of alcohol-related cancers in women, driven by breast cancer, equivalent to the increased absolute cancer risk associated with ten cigarettes per week", they conclude.

Prof John Britton, director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies at the University of Nottingham, said: "I'm not sure many people decide whether to smoke or drink. based on how comparable the risks of the two are". Small changes like having more alcohol-free days can make a big difference to how much you drink. Smoking is also far more hazardous than alcohol in relation to a range of other diseases.

"People who consume alcohol should try to stick within the recommended guidelines of 14 units per week", Prof Britton added. Absolute risk, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, is how likely a person is to develop a condition over their entire life.

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

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