Skip to content

NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study: Impact of Diet and Lifestyle Factors on Cancer Incidence: Alcohol and Smoking

Lifestyle Factors | Alcohol & Smoking

For a copy of these publications and others related to the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, visit the National Cancer Institute.

Alcohol and head and neck cancer risk in a prospective study
Drinking more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day is associated with increased risk of head and neck cancer in men and women. However, consumption of up to 1 drink per day may be associated with reduced risk relative to non-drinking, according to data from the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Among male and female drinkers, a significant dose-response relationship was found between alcohol consumption and cancer risk. However, non-drinkers showed an increased risk over moderate drinkers who consumed up to 1 alcoholic drink per day.

Alcohol, Smoking and Body Size in Relation to Incident Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Risk
Alcohol consumption, smoking, and body size all play a role in lymphoma etiology. According to the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study, which assessed these lifestyle factors in 285,079 men and 188,905 women ages 50-71:

  • Compared with nondrinkers, alcohol consumers had a lower risk for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma overall and for its main subtypes
  • Compared with never smokers, current smokers and recent quitters had higher risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma and lower risk of follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Severe obesity and taller height were associated moderately with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

A Prospective Study of Tobacco, Alcohol, and the Risk of Esophageal and Gastric Cancer Subtypes

Tobacco and alcohol use are associated with increased risk for some types of esophageal and gastric cancers, according to data gathered by the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study on 474,606 U.S. participants. Between 1995/1996 and 2000, 97 participants were diagnosed with esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), 205 with esophageal adenocarcinoma, 188 with gastric cardia adenocarcinoma, and 187 with gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma.

  • Compared with nonsmokers, current smokers were at increased risk for all 4 cancer subtypes. The proportion of these cancers in participants due to smoking was 77% for ESCC, 58% for esophageal adenocarcinoma, 47% for gastric cardia, and 19% for gastric noncardia.
  • Those who consumed more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day, compared with those whose intake was up to 1 drink per day, increased their risk for ESCC but not the other 3 cancer subtypes.

Further information about the study or individual reports may be obtained by contacting Nancy Wood of AARP at or 202-434-2583.

« back to list of NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study reports

AARP In Your State

Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.