Are hot dogs really that bad for you?

The billboard warning against (Photo: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

The hot dog. It screams American. Fry ‘em. Boil ‘em. They almost beg to be smothered in chili, cheese and onions. A couple of bites and they’re gone.

Finger-lickin’ good.

Whether it’s a love affair with hot dogs or a twice-a-year habit at barbecues, a group of doctors claims eating the processed meat is as risky as smoking cigarettes.

Susan Levin is director of nutrition for Physicians Committed for Responsible Medicine. Their cancer project sponsored a billboard at the Nascar Sprint Cup in Indianapolis that shows a pack of hot dogs in a cigarette box emblazoned with the skull and crossbones warning that hot dogs can wreck your life.

According to the American Cancer Institute, one 50 gram serving of processed meat – about the size of a hot dog – every day increases the risk of colo-rectal cancer by 21 percent.