Human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16), a common strain of the sexually transmitted HPV, is a known risk factor for head and neck cancer. Heavy smoking and drinking have also been linked to these cancers. So what happens when someone with HPV16 smokes and drinks? Surprisingly, the risk for these cancers doesn’t go up, according to research by Professor of Community Health Karl Kelsey published in the November Journal of the National Cancer Institute in November. Kelsey says the reason may be that the head and neck cancers caused by HPV are actually different kinds of cancer than the ones caused by smoking and drinking.