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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 use

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

Alcohol consumption and risk

Alcohol consumption and risk
Number of drinks per week Level 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 several types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer, increases
7 or more standard drinks Increasingly high risk; risk of heart disease and stroke increases significantly
Each additional drink Radically increased risk of alcohol-related consequences

For more information, see Canada's Guidance on Alcohol and Health, Public Summary: Drinking Less is Better.

No matter where you are on the continuum, any reduction in alcohol use has benefits. For tips on reducing alcohol consumption, see 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

When pregnant or trying to get pregnant, there is no known safe amount of alcohol use. Exposure to alcohol in the womb can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

When breastfeeding, not drinking 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, see our Addiction Services and Support page.

Information for healthcare providers

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction provides alcohol screening, brief intervention, and treatment resources for healthcare professionals.

Contact Us

Huron Perth Public Health

Huron Office
77722B London Road, RR #5, Clinton, ON
N0M 1L0

Perth Office
653 West Gore St., Stratford ON N5A 1L4
Toll-free 1-888-221-2133

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