We've all got that friend who won't touch a hot brew unless it's steaming hot. Well, according to a new study, the habit is more a cause for concern than amusement.
Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol for prolonged periods of time are known causes of oesophageal cancer, and researchers wanted to see if further damage to the oesophagus caused through drinking hot tea can be a factor in developing the disease.
The study followed around 500,000 Chinese adults between the ages of 30 and 79 for just over nine years, and had some startling results. Of the number who participated in the study, 1,731 people developed oesophageal cancer.
People who regularly drank hot tea, smoked one or more cigarettes a day, and drank 15 grams of alcohol or more daily had an increased risk of developing the cancer. People who still drank hot tea but only either smoked or drank alcohol also showed increased risks of oesophageal cancer — although not as high as the former group.
Due to several variants in the study, such as what exactly constitutes a "very hot beverage", there is still no resolute link between hot drink consumption on its own and oesophageal cancer. However, there's no doubt that the damage and inflammation caused when we excessively consume hot drinks can compromise the tissues in the esophagus and leave us vulnerable to disease.