Smokers who drank at least a glass of red wine daily were 60% less likely to develop lung cancer than non-drinkers, a study found.
However, white wine did not reduce the risk in the same way.
This suggests that it could be the compounds contained in red wine, such as resveratrol and flavonoids -- rather than the healthier lifestyle sometimes associated with wine drinkers -- which offers protection, the researchers said.
Previous studies examining the relationship between lung cancer and alcohol consumption have had mixed results. However, Dr. Chun Chao of health insurers Kaiser Permanente in the U.S. told the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention that much of this research has failed to take into account factors such as social status.
In the current study, Chao and her colleagues looked at 84,170 men aged 45-69 years old between 2000 and 2006.
After taking health and lifestyle differences into account, the researchers found that lung cancer risk steadily decreased as red wine drinking increased.
A 2% reduction was seen with each additional glass of red wine a man drank per month.
For heavy smokers, the reduction was greater, dropping 4% for each glass consumed per month.
From the October 13, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash