How many cigarettes in a bottle of wine?

Alicia Farmer
March 31, 2019

For men, researchers found a bottle of wine a week had the same risk as smoking five cigarettes.

Researchers from the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Bangor University and the University of Southampton, noted that if women drank one bottle of wine per week, their life time risk of cancer is equivalent to those who smoke 10 cigarettes a week.

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

The team hypothesized that if 1000 non-smoking men and 1000 non-smoking women drank one bottle of wine per week throughout their lifetime, 10 men and 14 women would develop cancer. In the case of men, the risk is similar to that caused by five cigarettes.

The researchers write that the harmful effects of alcohol are often underestimated by the public when compared to smoking.

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As far as women are concerned, a bottle of wine a week is as risky as 10 smokes due to the increased chances of breast cancer that is caused by drinking. This level of alcohol consumption is lower than what the CDC now deems excessive, yet could increase men's risk for cancer by nearly two percent and women's risk by nearly five percent. "Yet, in contrast to smoking, this is not widely understood by the public", said Hydes.

"We hope that by expressing the risks of cancer from alcohol in terms of cigarettes smoked this will act as a simple but effective method to make sure people are better informed about the cancer risks associated with the drinks they are sold".

Approximately 70 percent of Americans don't know alcohol is carcinogenic, even though the American Cancer Society has found clear links between alcohol consumption and seven types of cancer, as well as potential links to pancreatic and stomach cancer. Small changes like having more alcohol-free days can make a big difference to how much you drink. The authors highlight that this in an important issue as breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women in the UK.

She added: "There are a wide variety of genetic and lifestyle factors that can contribute to an increased risk of cancer and the study itself is clear that drinking in moderation is not equivalent to smoking". The study aims to draw the public's attention to the fact that just moderate levels of drinking, e.g. one bottle of wine per week can put people at risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer.

Susannah Brown, acting head of research interpretation at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: "This is a very interesting paper". The goal was to quantify a "cigarette-equivalent of population cancer harm".

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