Alcohol consumption is linked to health problems including, but not limited to, cancer, heart disease and liver disease. It also increases the risk of injuries and violence. 

Limit your alcohol intake

Canada's Guidance on Alcohol and Health outlines a continuum of risk associated with weekly alcohol intake.

Alcohol consumption and risk
Number of drinks per weekLevel of risk

0 drinks 

No risk; health benefits, such as better health and better sleep

1-2 standard drinks

Low risk; likely to avoid alcohol-related consequences
3-6 standard drinks Moderate risk; risk of developing different types of cancer (e.g. breast, colon) increases
7 or more standard drinks

Increasingly high risk; risk of heart disease or stroke increases

Each additional drink raises the risk of alcohol-related consequences

For more information, see Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health, Public Summary: Drinking Less Is Better [PDF]

Reduce your alcohol consumption by following the Canadian Cancer Society's 10 smart ways to limit alcohol

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink is any drink that contains about 13.6 grams of pure alcohol. Once you know what a standard drink is, you will have a better idea of how much alcohol you are actually consuming.

One standard drink equals:

  • Beer | 12 oz | 341 ml | 5% alcohol
  • Cider, cooler, ready-to-drink | 12 oz | 341 ml | 5% alcohol
  • Wine | 5 oz | 142 ml | 12% alcohol
  • Spirits (e.g. vodka, rum, whiskey) | 1.5 oz | 43 ml | 40% alcohol

Alcohol, pregnancy and breastfeeding

No amount of alcohol is safe for your baby during pregnancy. Learn more about the impact of drinking during pregnancy:

When breastfeeding, having no alcohol is safest.

Supports to reduce or stop drinking

If you, or someone you know, is looking for support to reduce the amount of alcohol they consume:

  • Talk to your health care provider
  • Call 2-1-1 or visit for social services, programs and community supports
  • Visit our Community Services page for addiction support services and other resources