One Bottle of Wine Causes Same Cancer Risk as Five to 10 Cigarettes

Category: Health


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. moderately / ˈmɑːdərətli / (adv) – in a way that is not too much or not too little

    Doctors advise people to drink alcohol moderately.

  2. bear / beɚ / (v) – to have something

    The disease bears the same symptoms as cancer.

  3. get (something) across / gɛt əˈkrɑːs / (phrasal) – to successfully make someone understand something

    The government released an official statement to get their message across.

  4. solely / ˈsoʊlli / (adv) – only

    The medicine is available solely in the United States.

  5. at play / ət pleɪ / (idiom) – referring to something that can influence a result

    Several factors, such as lifestyle and diet, are at play in evaluating one’s health.


Read the text below.

A new study claims that drinking wine moderately can increase the risk of cancer in the same way that cigarette smoking does.

Researchers from the United Kingdom analyzed data from the Cancer Research UK. They calculated the cancer risk of non-smokers who consumed a bottle of wine every week. Afterward, they compared the data with the cancer risk of moderate smokers. Specifically, the researchers studied the number of deaths caused by drinking and smoking and determined the cancer risk that both habits carried.

According to the results, drinking one bottle of wine every week bears the same cancer risk as smoking five cigarettes for men and 10 for women each week. This means that moderate drinking can increase cancer risk by 1% in men and 1.4% in women.

One of the researchers commented that the study is important because the risks of drinking alcohol are not well communicated to the public. However, the researcher clarified that drinking alcohol moderately is not the same as smoking and that the impact is different for every person.

Sophia Lowes of Cancer Research UK commended the study. She said that comparing drinking alcohol to smoking, a major cause of cancer, is helpful in getting the danger of alcohol across to people.

However, some companies in the alcohol industry called the study confusing and misleading. They argued that the increased cancer risk might not be solely due to drinking alcohol and other factors like genetics and lifestyle could also be at play.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think that the study can be effective in raising awareness about the dangers of drinking alcohol? Why or why not?
• In what other ways can the dangers of drinking alcohol be well communicated to the public? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Aside from smoking and drinking alcohol, what other habits or practices do you think people should avoid doing to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Explain.
• How else can experts encourage people to have a healthier lifestyle?