Smoking and Drinking Can Lead to Cancer, But This Can Make It Worse

We all know smoking and drinking are unhealthy. But what some people may not know is that a specific activity can make both habits more harmful to their health. A seemingly healthy habit no less. Keep reading to find out how sipping this liquid can increase your risk of cancer.

The study

50,000 adults were evaluated. | Win McNamee/Getty Images

Researchers track a total of 500,000 adults in China over the course of 9-and-a-half years, according to CNN. Each one is a tobacco or alcohol user. “Because of the large size, it may set the bar for years to come,” Neal Freedman, senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, told CNN. Freedman himself is not involved in the study.

Hint: How much alcohol and tobacco is too much?

What’s excessive?

Drink bourbon

That drink may hit you harder than you think. |

While conducting the study, researchers define excessive use of tobacco and alcohol. Tobacco use is considered as smoking one or more cigarettes per day, according to CNN. And excessive alcohol consumption, for the sake of the study, is “defined as 15 grams or more of alcohol per day — slightly more than that found in a 12-ounce glass of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or a 1.5-ounce shot of distilled spirits.”

Hint: There’s a better way to drink this beverage.

Drink this beverage cold

Two tea bags on

Hot tea may be to blame. |

The study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, entitled, Hot Tea and Esophageal Cancer, suggests those who smoke and drink are more likely to get esophageal cancer if they drink hot tea. “Drinking hot tea contributed to cancer only when it clustered with smoking and drinking alcohol excessively,” Jun Lv, a lead author on the study, told CNN.


Hint: Hot tea may lead to increased inflammation.

How hot tea puts people at risk

The perfect mid-afternoon treat. | Pattanaphong Khuankaew/iStock/Getty Images

“Irritating the lining of the esophagus could lead to increased inflammation and more rapid turnover of the cells,” Freedman told CNN. “Alternatively, hot liquids may impair the barrier function of the cells lining the esophagus, leaving the tissue open to greater damage from other carcinogens.” For those who smoke or drink daily, reconsider drinking hot tea, and cutback, or cut out, smoking and drinking.

Hint: Drinking hot tea alone will not cause cancer.

Non-smokers and non-drinkers shouldn’t worry

young black woman drinking coffee

Just make sure you don’t do all three. |

 “Drinking “hot” or “burning hot” tea was not, by itself, a predictor of esophageal cancer,” according to CNN. People who don’t smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol daily are not at a higher risk for esophageal cancer. The biggest risks for those who only drink hot tea — and don’t smoke or drink every day — is consuming too much caffeine or burning their tongues.

Hint: We like cold tea.

Iced tea is most popular

Boozy Long Island Iced Tea with a Lemon Garnish

Iced tea with a slice of lemon is pretty great. |

 “80% of the tea here [in the United States] is iced,” Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the USA, told CNN. “But even in the hot areas, which is in the Northeast and West Coast, most people will be adding something to it, whether it’s a little sweetener or lemon,” decreasing the tea’s temperature. Other parts of the world consume tea at very hot temperatures.

Hint: Tea can help prevent cancer.

The health benefits of tea

A pair of female feet

Weight loss may be a welcome side effect. |

 We know a lot about tea. “Tea is probably one of the most studied food and beverages in the world today,” Goggi told CNN. “Green tea has been shown to be a little more effective in cancer inhibition versus black tea, but black tea has been more effective in cardiovascular health.” In addition to inhibiting cancer, tea has additional health benefits, including weight loss and bone health.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

Read more: 10 Cancer Risk Factors That Will Totally Surprise You