Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Smokers boost cancer chances with fruit: study

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THE HAGUE (AFP) — Smokers may increase their chances of contractin­g colon cancer by eating fruit and vegetables, according to a new Europe-wide scientific study.

A high intake of fruit and vegetables appeared to reduce the risk among nonsmokers but seemed to have the reverse effect on smokers, findings by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environmen­t (RIVM) showed.

“People who eat 600 grams or more vegetables and fruit a day appear to have a 20 to 25 per cent lower chance of developing colon cancer than people who eat 220 grams or less,” a statement released Wednesday said. “For smokers, the consumptio­n of vegetables and fruit appears, on the contrary, to increase the chances of colon cancer.

“Protection against colon cancer through the consumptio­n of vegetables and fruit, therefore, appears to depend on smoking habits.”

RIVM official Hans Verhagen said this doesn’t mean smokers should stop eating their greens.

“On the contrary, the conclusion is to: ‘Please stop smoking,’ ” he said.

The research project questioned some 500,000 people in 10 European countries about their eating and smoking habits and studied them for 8 ⁄ years.

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