The effect of drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes on the risk of cirrhosis associated with alcohol consumption. A case-control study. Provincial Group for the Study of Chronic Liver Disease

Eur J Epidemiol. 1994 Dec;10(6):657-64. doi: 10.1007/BF01719277.


In order to assess the interaction between alcohol intake, tobacco smoking and coffee consumption in determining the risk of liver cirrhosis we carried out a hospital-based case-control study involving 115 patients at their first diagnosis of cirrhosis and 167 control patients consecutively enrolled in the General Hospitals of the Province of L'Aquila (Central Italy). The mean life-time daily alcohol intake (as g ethanol consumed daily) was measured by direct patient interviews, whose reproducibility was > 0.80 and similar for cases and controls, as checked by interviewing the relatives of a sample of 50 cases and 73 controls. During the same patient's interview we also measured the mean consumption of coffee (daily number of cups of filtered coffee) and tobacco (life-time daily number of cigarettes smoked). A dose-effect relationship on the risk of cirrhosis was present both for alcohol intake--for which the risk was significantly increased above 100 g of daily intake--and for cigarette consumption. The latter did not however improve the goodness-of-fit of a logistic regression model including alcohol intake as covariate. By contrast, coffee consumption had a protective effect on the risk of cirrhosis and significantly improved the goodness-of-fit of such a model. Abstaining from coffee consumption determined both a significantly increased risk of cirrhosis, even for daily alcohol intake below 100 g, and a multiplicative effect with alcohol intake on this risk. In patients drinking > or = 101 g ethanol daily the relative risk increased from 5.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.4-22.0) for coffee consumers to 10.8 (95% confidence interval: 1.3-58.1) for coffee abstainers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / adverse effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coffee / adverse effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / immunology
  • Hepatitis Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis B Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis Delta Virus / immunology
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Smoking / adverse effects*


  • Coffee
  • Hepatitis Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Antigens
  • Ethanol