Green tea may slash lung cancer risk in smokers and non-smokers

January 22, 2010

     Smokers who did not drink green tea at all may have a 13-fold increased risk of developing lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup per day, suggests a new study. Although expert advice is clearly to avoid tobacco smoke altogether, the results suggest smokers could benefit from upping their intake of green tea, according to findings presented at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer. One in three Europeans are smokers, while the US figure is one in five. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemical compounds, of which 60 are known to cause cancer. The oxidative stress levels of smokers are significantly greater than non-smokers, and as such there is a bigger drain on the levels of antioxidants in the body.
     The new study is a hospital-based, randomized clinical trial. It builds on earlier research from epidemiological studies which reported potential lung cancer risk reductions in smokers who drank green tea. The benefits may extend to non-smokers, researchers told attendees at the conference. Non-smokers who didn’t drink green tea had a 5.2-fold increased risk of lung cancer, compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea per day.