Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health

ANY and ALL reductions in alcohol use are beneficial to health.

Canadians have a right to know the risks that come with drinking alcohol. New information shows that even a small amount of alcohol can be harmful to health. The more you drink, the more the consequences add up.

It doesn’t matter what kind of alcohol it is—wine, beer, cider or spirits. Drinking alcohol, even a small amount, is damaging to everyone, regardless of age, sex, gender, ethnicity, tolerance for alcohol or lifestyle.

This chart is a tool for reflection. Where do you find yourself?

0 drinks per week
Not drinking has benefits, such as better health and better sleep.

No risk

1 to 2 standard drinks per week
You will likely avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself and others.

Low risk

3 to 6 standard drinks per week
Your risk of developing several different types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer, increases.

Moderate risk

7 or more standard drinks per week
Your risk of heart disease or stroke increases.

Each additional standard drink
Radically increases the risk of these alcohol-related consequences.

Increasingly high risk

In January of 2023, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction released Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health.1 The guidance provides the latest evidence-based information about the range of risks and harms related to alcohol use. It does NOT tell people how much to drink. It meets people where they are at because everyone’s relationship with alcohol is different. Any reduction is helpful.

Tips to Reduce1

(1) Paradis, C., Butt, P., Shield, K., Poole, N., Wells, S., Naimi, T., Sherk, A., & the Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines Scientific Expert Panels. (2023, January). Canada’s guidance on alcohol and health: Final report. Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.
(2) Dr. Stephane Perron (in French), December 7, 2023 at about 16:30: Le Détecteur de rumeurs | Ep. 18 : Alcool et risques pour la santé (

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