Smokers who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables should, in theory, reduce their chances of getting cancer. Right? Wrong. A new study of 500,000 Europeans has found that smokers who eat lots of fruit and vegetables are actually at higher risk of one kind of cancer, colon cancer. For nonsmokers, the numbers are predictable: Those who eat plenty of fruits and veggies reduce their risk for bowel cancer by as much as 25 percent. But for smokers, frequent consumption of fruits and vegetables increases the risk of colon cancer by a small percentage. The researchers surmise that certain chemicals in fruits and veggies can augment the effects of the poisons in cigarette smoke. Hans Verhagen, an official with the Dutch public health institute that conducted the study, says that cigarette smokers certainly shouldn’t take this study as a cue to quit eating broccoli and berries. “On the contrary,” he tells Agence France-Presse, “the conclusion is to please stop smoking.”
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Health scare of the week: Veggies + smoking = cancer
April 23, 2009
of The Week magazine.