Scientists claim that drinking one bottle of wine each week raises the risk of cancer by the same amount as smoking up to 10 cigarettes.
In the first study of its kind, academics found the ‘cigarette equivalent’ of one bottle of wine roughly 10 units are five cigarettes for men or ten for women each week.
The risk of cancer from downing three bottles of red or white wine each week, or 10 large glasses, is much higher.
The study was carried out by the researchers at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Bangor University and the University of Southampton.
Dr. Theresa Hydes and team estimated 10 in 1,000 men would develop cancer at some point in their lives from drinking one bottle of wine each week.
The study found 19 out of 1,000 men and 36 out of 1,000 women would eventually develop cancer if they drank this amount.
Men were more likely to get gastrointestinal cancers from drinking, while the risk of breast cancer was greatest for women.
The risk is the same as smoking eight cigarettes a week for men, or 23 a week for women, Dr. Hydes and colleagues estimated.
Dr. Hydes said: ‘’We must be absolutely clear that this study is not saying that drinking alcohol in moderation is in any way equivalent to smoking.’’
’’Our finds relate to lifetime risk across the population. At an individual level, cancer risk represented by drinking or smoking will vary.’’
’’And for many individuals, the impact of ten units of alcohol (one bottle of wine) or five to ten cigarettes may be very different.’’
‘’It is well established that heavy drinking is linked to cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, gullet, bowel, liver and breast.’’
‘’Yet, in contrast to smoking, this is not widely understood by the public.’’
‘’We hope by using cigarettes as a comparison we could communicate this message more effectively to help individuals make more informed lifestyle choices.’’
The NHS advises men and women not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis such as weekly.
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