Drinking one bottle of wine per week is equivalent to smoking five to 10 cigarettes in terms of increasing cancer risk, new research suggests.
For women, drinking a weekly bottle of wine increases the lifetime risk of cancer to the same extent as smoking 10 cigarettes per week, mostly due to an increased risk of breast cancer caused by drinking, according to the study.
For men, the absolute lifetime risk of cancer is equivalent to smoking five cigarettes.
Researchers estimated that if 1,000 non-smoking men and 1,000 non-smoking women each drank one bottle of wine per week across their lifetime, around 10 men and 14 women would develop cancer as a result.
The study was carried out by the the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Bangor University and University of Southampton.
Dr Theresa Hydes, who worked on the study, said: "It is well established that heavy drinking is linked to cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, gullet, bowel, liver and breast.
"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."