Content Map Terms

Alcohol Use

Alcohol has both immediate and long-term effects on your body including an increased risk of injuries and chronic diseases. Learn more about alcohol use and its effects:

Canada’s Guidelines on Alcohol and Health

If you choose to drink alcohol, you should know about its effects as well as risks, like injuries and chronic diseases. Canada’s Guidelines on Alcohol and Health advises that the more alcohol you drink per week, the more you increase your health risk. For example:

  • Not drinking at all has benefits, such as better health, and better sleep
  • Drinking 2 standard drinks or less per week will likely help you avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself or others. A standard drink means:
    • Beer = 341 ml (12 oz) of 5% alcohol
    • Cooler, cider, ready-to-drink = 341 ml (12 oz) of 5% alcohol
    • Wine = 142 ml (5 oz) of wine, 12% alcohol
    • Spirits (whisky, vodka, gin, etc.) = 43 ml (1.5 oz) of spirits, 40% alcohol 
  • Consuming more than 2 standard drinks per occasion is associated with an increased risk of harms to self and others, including injuries and violence
    • 3 – 6 standard drinks per week increases your risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer
    • 7 standard drinks or more per week significantly increases your risk of heart disease or stroke
  • When pregnant or trying to get pregnant, there is no known safe amount of alcohol use
  • When breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest

To learn more visit, Drinking Less is Better, Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (PDF, 731kb).

Risky Drinking and Your Health

When it comes to drinking, moderation is key. Excessive or risky alcohol use can cause damage to your body. Learn more about the risks and health effects of drinking alcohol.

Alcohol and Other Drug Use During Pregnancy

When you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, the safest option is to not drink alcohol at all. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy puts your baby at risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, also known as FASD. To learn more, visit Alcohol and Other Drug Use during Pregnancy

Alcohol and Young Adults

Help the young adult in your life make healthy choices about alcohol use. Learn how alcohol affects young adults’ bodies and what factors contribute to their reaction to alcohol. Learn more about parenting and substance use.

Alcohol and Aging

As you get older, your body processes alcohol more slowly and you can become more sensitive to its affects. Learn more about alcohol use and aging:

Workplace Alcohol Policy

Alcohol misuse creates safety risks for businesses. Steps to prevent and reduce workplace alcohol (and other drug) problems can have a significant impact on health and safety of the workforce and the community. To support employees, employers are encouraged to create a Workplace Alcohol Policy that is appropriate and relevant to your workplace. This could include:

  • Providing staff with a safe, productive and supportive environment in which to work
  • Recognition that excessive drinking may have a negative influence on the health, work and social relationships of employees
  • Educating supervisors/managers to help employees deal with problem drinking
  • Ensure workers know about the policy and it is included in new employee orientation

For more information, visit WorkSafe BC’s Substance Use & Impairment in the Workplace page.

Last updated: January 29, 2024