A new study says that getting through a bottle of wine a week is as bad as smoking 10 cigarettes.
Many of us enjoy a cheeky glass of wine with dinner, and we usually assume that as long as we’re not binge drinking, we’re not doing ourselves any harm.
And since the average bottle of wine ‘only’ contains 10 units, slurping your way through a bottle a week won’t put you over the NHS’s recommended limit of 14 units a week.
Shockingly though, experts now think that drinking the equivalent of a bottle of wine a week could increase your risk of cancer by as much as smoking 10 cigarettes.
Researchers from the University of Southampton, Bangor University and the University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust found that drinking a bottle of wine a week had the same health risks as smoking 10 cigarettes a week for women, and five for men.
This means that for every 1,000 women who don’t smoke but do drink a bottle of wine a week, 14 could develop cancer as a result of their drinking.
Drinking three bottles of wine a week is roughly the same as smoking 23 cigarettes a week if you’re female, or eight if you’re male.
This means that 36 out of 1,000 non-smoking women who drink three bottles of wine a week could develop cancer as a result of their wine habit.
For men, the risk is about 10 in 1,000 on a bottle a week, and 19 in 1,000 for three bottles a week.
The link is mostly down to an increase in breast cancer risk for women, and bowel, liver and oesophageal cancer for men. All in all, drinking a bottle of wine a week increases the lifetime risk of cancer in both men and women by 1 per cent compared with non-smokers who don’t drink.
But the average UK drinker gets through a bottle-and-a-half of wine a week and current estimates put the lifetime risk of cancer in the UK at 50 per cent. Sobering stats.
Smoking still carries a much bigger risk than drinking though, because smokers tend to get through a far greater number of cigarettes a week – the average UK smoker smokes about 70 cigarettes a week.