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BMJ. Dec 6, 1997; 315(7121): 1489–1492.
PMCID: PMC2127930

Relation of smoking and alcohol and coffee consumption to active Helicobacter pylori infection: cross sectional study.


OBJECTIVE: To assess the relation of smoking and alcohol and coffee consumption to active Helicobacter pylori infection. DESIGN: Cross sectional study of patients attending a general practitioner. Active H pylori infection was measured by the 15C-urea breath test and detailed quantitative information on smoking and on alcohol and coffee consumption was obtained by a standardised self administered questionnaire. SETTING: One general practice in Germany. SUBJECTS: 447 patients aged 15-79 who had not had peptic ulcer disease or treatment for H pylori infection. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence of H pylori infection according to smoking and alcohol and coffee consumption. RESULTS: Overall prevalence of infection was 21% (94/447). There was no significant relation between smoking and active H pylori infection. Alcohol consumption showed a negative dose-response relation and coffee consumption a positive dose-response relation with active infection. After adjustment for potential confounders, the odds ratios for patients who drank < or = 75 g and > 75 g of ethanol a week compared with non-drinkers were 0.90 (95% confidence interval 0.55 to 1.59) and 0.33 (0.16 to 0.68), respectively (P value for trend 0.005, assuming that 1 litre of beer and 0.51 of wine contain on average 50 g of ethanol in south Germany). Adjusted odds ratios for patients who drank < 3 cups and > or = 3 cups of coffee per day compared with those who did not drink coffee were 1.49 (0.71 to 3.12) and 2.49 (1.23 to 5.03), respectively (P value for trend 0.007). CONCLUSION: These results suggest a protective effect of alcohol consumption against active infection with H pylori and an opposite effect of coffee consumption.

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