In the first study of its kind, academics compared the known dangers of smoking to that of drinking too much, and they say, found the ‘cigarette equivalent’ of one bottle of wine roughly 10 units is five cigarettes for men or ten for women each week.
One bottle of wine per week is associated with an increased absolute lifetime cancer risk for non-smokers of 1.0% (men) and 1.4% (women). The overall absolute increase in cancer risk for one bottle of wine per week equals that of five (men) or ten cigarettes per week (women). Gender differences result from levels of moderate drinking leading to a 0.8% absolute risk of breast cancer in female non-smokers.
And the risk of cancer from drinkingthree bottles of red or white wine each week, or 10 large glasses, is much higher.
In response UKHospitality said : “While this study will drive some headlines in the popular press, it is entirely misguided and misleading, and we believe the BMC should and must do better. All studies agree that there is an immediate health risk from smoking, from the first puff onward, whereas studies show that this is not the case with drinking alcohol. Indeed, moderate drinking can benefit wellbeing, so to try to compare the two in this way is completely wrong.
“This is about communicating a potential increase in risk and this study confuses rather than clarifies.
“The 4% of the population drinking at harmful levels needs addressing, but latest research is more positive, showing that a third of UK adults are drinking less than they were as little as six months ago. This is across the board, including young adults, middle-aged consumers and older drinkers, with health given as the number one reason – so the public health message is clearly working.”