Drinking a bottle of wine increases the risk of cancer by the same amount as smoking 10 cigarettes, a study suggests.
Scientists calculated the cancer risk of alcohol compared to smoking and came up with the shock statistic for women. For men, researchers found a bottle of wine a week had the same risk as smoking five cigarettes.
The risk from alcohol was higher for women because of the link with breast cancer, which women have a 14 percent lifetime risk of developing.
One bottle of wine per week, or 10 units, means an increased absolute lifetime cancer risk for non-smokers of 1 percent for men and 1.4 percent for women, University Hospital Southampton, Bangor University and Southampton University found.
Dr Theresa Hydes said: “It is well established that heavy drinking is linked to cancer. Yet, in contrast to smoking, this is not widely understood by the public.
“We hope that by using cigarettes as the comparator we could communicate this message more effectively to help individuals make more informed lifestyle choices.”
Brigid Simmonds, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “This is an absurd study which does little to educate people.”