NEW! CANADA’S GUIDANCE ON ALCOHOL AND HEALTH
Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health recommends that people consider reducing their alcohol use.
Drinking less is better for everyone. Any reduction in alcohol use has benefits.
- There is a continuum of risk for drinking where the risk of harm is:
- 0 drinks per week — Not drinking has benefits, such as better health and better sleep.
- 1 to 2 standard drinks per week — You are likely to avoid alcohol-related consequences for yourself or others at this amount.
- 3 to 6 standard drinks per week — Your risk of developing several types of cancer, including breast and colon cancer increases at this amount.
- 7 or more standard drinks per week — Your risk of heart disease or stroke increases at this amount. Each additional standard drink radically increases the risk of alcohol-related consequences.
- Drinking more than 2 standard drinks per drinking occasion can increase risk of harms to self and others, including injuries and violence.
- There is no known safe amount of alcohol use when pregnant or trying to get pregnant.
- When breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is safest.
- The health risks increase more steeply for women than for men when consuming above moderate levels of alcohol.
- Young people should delay alcohol use for as long as possible.
- Individuals should not start to use alcohol or increase their alcohol use for health benefits.
For more information, please visit Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health.
Talking to Teens: 12 Tips for Parents
- Find out in a friendly way where your teen is, who they’re with and what they are doing.
- Continue to build a relationship with your teen that is warm, caring and affectionate.
- Be open to talking with your teen about limits, family rules and consequences. Be consistent with following through on the rules and consequences.
- Talk to your kids before they become teens and keep the conversation going. Discuss different topics, not just alcohol so that you can hear your teen’s opinions and values.
- Use movies and advertisements to discuss how alcohol or drinking is often positively portrayed but the negative effects are rarely shown. Research shows that alcohol advertising can affect how early youth start to drink and can influence youth who already drink, to drink more.
- You can influence your teen’s decisions around drinking. Research shows youth believe their parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol. Talk about not drinking or delaying drinking as long as possible.
- If you drink alcohol, set a good example. Refer to Canada’s Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines and discuss how you use the guidelines to manage your own drinking. Avoid talking about alcohol as fun, glamorous or a stress reliever.
- Stay knowledgeable. You don’t have to be an expert, but if you keep current on your knowledge about alcohol, you can share information that may help your teen make better choices.
- If you and your teen are hosting a party, make it an alcohol-free event and make sure there is adult supervision.
- If your child is attending a party, discuss what to do if alcohol is present. Let teens know they can depend on you to help them if they are worried about their own or a friend’s safety.
- Know that experimentation and mistakes happen. By understanding that a teen’s brain is still developing, you’ll be able to better understand why your teen may place themselves in risky situations. Help your teen reflect on a mistake to make it into a learning opportunity. Be sure to wait until you’re both calm and ready to talk.
- Be mindful of challenges and pressures in your teen’s life. Many youth today experience anxiety, stress and depression and may use alcohol or other drugs to cope. Help your teen find positive ways to deal with the stressors in his/her life. If you feel your teen is experiencing problems, seek help.
References: "Stats, Facts and Talking Points about Alcohol and Other Drugs" (Parent Action on Drugs), "Strategies for Parents to Prevent Underage Drinking" (Hamilton Public Health Services, Hamilton Police, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board)
Tips for Safe Drinking
- Set limits for yourself and stick to them
- Drink slowly. Have no more than two drinks in three hours
- For every alcoholic drink, have a non-alcoholic drink
- Eat before and while you are drinking
- Always consider your age, body weight and health problems. These factors may affect the impact of alcohol and you may need to lower your drinking limit
- While drinking may provide health benefits for certain groups of people (under certain conditions), do not start to drink or increase your drinking to benefit your health