Alcohol is a normalized part of relaxation, social gatherings, and celebrations. At the same time, alcohol is a psychoactive drug that can contribute to short-term, long-term, and second-hand harms. Knowledge of the impact that alcohol has on individual and community well-being can help to inform personal choices about alcohol consumption.
Short-term harms include:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Falls and injuries
Long-term harms include:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
- Liver disease
- Cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum, and breast
- Digestive problems
- Mental health problems
Second-hand harms include:
- Motor vehicle collisions
- Property damage
- Family and relationship dysfunction
Guidelines for Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking
When it comes to alcohol, not all drinks are created equal. There are different flavours, different sizes and different amounts of alcohol. If you choose to drink, consider using Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines to help standard size your drink and reduce your risk of alcohol-related harms!
Reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than:
- 10 drinks a week for women, with no more than 2 drinks a day for most days
- 15 drinks a week for men, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days
Reduce your risk of injury and harm by using no more than:
- 3 drinks (for women) or 4 drinks (for men) on any single occasion
Avoid drinking any alcohol a few days every week. This will help you avoid developing a habit.
People who drink often overpour at home and many restaurants serve more than a standard drink in their glasses or bottles. For Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, a standard serving size beverage is:
- 341 ml (12 oz) of beer, cider, or cooler (4 to 5% alcohol)
- 43 ml (1.5 oz) of liquor (40% alcohol)
- 142 ml (5 oz) of wine (10 to 12% alcohol)
Want to learn more? Check out this short video that explains Canada’s Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines.
Assess Your Alcohol Use
Try the Saying When App to monitor how much or when you drink.