The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

New study on lifetime drinking, mortality and cancer risk

A rigorous new study has confirmed multiple earlier works in showing that the risk of cancer and death from cardiovascular causes and cancer is lower among light drinkers than abstainers.

“While everyone is in agreement that heavy drinking or binge drinking is risky behaviour for anyone’s health and wellbeing, studies like this emphasise that the light-to-moderate drinking behaviour favoured by most New Zealanders can have a positive health impact,” said New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council Executive Director, Nick Leggett.

He said the 2018 PLoS Medicine Study of 100,000 people over 20 years is significant because it tracks lifetime alcohol consumption where mortality and cancer incidences were assessed separately. The study is also adjusted for the diets of its subjects.

“We would never say that light-to-moderate drinking protects people from cancer or early death. However, there is now a stack of research that shows people who combine light-to-moderate drinking with a healthy lifestyle should have nothing to fear from enjoying a beer or wine,” he says.

Leggett said the scare tactics employed by the anti-alcohol lobby, which seeks to confuse and scare people, are blown away time and again by high quality, independent research.

“The ‘no safe level’ of alcohol statements by some should be weighed up against quality research that continues to show that light-to-moderate consumption doesn’t have a negative impact on life expectancy or cancer or heart disease risks.”

To view the full study, head to