Published: Wed, February 07, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Hot tea could lead to cancer among heavy drinkers, smokers

Hot tea could lead to cancer among heavy drinkers, smokers

Those who drank "burning-hot tea" and consumed 15 grams or more of alcohol daily had the greatest risk of esophageal cancer, a five-fold increase over people who did neither, nor smoked, and a two-fold increase over smokers who also drank burning-hot tea.

Frequently drinking very hot liquids, prepared at temperatures of 65 degrees Celsius - which is much hotter than a typical cup of coffee or tea - can increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus, researchers said.

It may be mentioned that the new research study was conducted on 456,155 men and women of China in the age group 30- 79.


Heavy alcohol drinkers are considered to be those who consume more than 15grams of alcohol per day, while smokers are defined as smoking more than one cigarette per day.

Lv and team uncovered a positive correlation between drinking burning-hot tea, regular alcohol intake, and smoking and a higher risk of esophageal cancer.

Lv and team studied the link between drinking tea at very high temperatures and the development of esophageal cancer in the Chinese population; China is not only the number one consumer of tea, but it is also a country with one of the of this type of cancer. Cancer beginning in the esophagus has a survival of only five years after the initial diagnosis.

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The Chinese study is being viewed as significant as it is among the world's largest studies on hot beverages and the esophageal cancer risk. A limitation of the study includes the use of self-reported data for tea consumption that was taken only at baseline, which may have led to misclassification of exposure and weakening of the association.

Of course, it's not a good idea to repeatedly burn your mouth and throat with hot drinks of any sort, so drinking beverages at a sensible temperature is recommended to avoid injury.

Strengths of the study include the high participant number and long follow-up period.

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In the end, the researchers indicated 1,731 cases of esophageal cancer.

"That said, there may be individuals out there who do drink very hot tea (with excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption as well) and hence might be more at risk of developing this cancer". If you drink tea or coffee below 65°C, there's no need to stop your daily fix! Almost 500,000 people between the ages of 30 and 79 monitored their smoke, alcohol and tea consumption over a nine-month period.

This study has some limitations.

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People were only asked about tea, alcohol and tobacco consumption at the start of the study. They were under study for more than 9 years. These three factors could "complicate" the risks for developing this disease. Drinking tea is unlikely to be the biggest of their health problems.

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