Alcohol is killing Canadians, so why are we still drinking?

pouring wine

Most of us are aware of the commonly held belief that drinking wine is good for your heart, but few of us understand the serious dangers of drinking alcohol — even when it’s just one glass.

According to a recent global report, no amount of alcohol is safe to drink. In fact, the study found that any possible benefit of light drinking — including reducing heart disease — is outweighed by the combined health risks associated with alcohol.

What’s more, the report found that alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 across the world in 2016. Other research found the economic cost of alcohol-related harm across Canada is $14.6 billion per year. ​

So if data shows that drinking is killing us — literally — what is it going to take for Canadians to cut back, or stop drinking altogether?

According to Dr. Catherine Paradis, the lead alcohol expert at the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, we need to talk more honestly and openly about the reality of drinking.

“Alcohol literacy in our population is extremely low,” Paradis told Global News. “According to some data we have, no more than 20 per cent of the population is aware that alcohol can cause seven different types of cancer.”

Why are Canadians in the dark when it comes to drinking?

Paradis said that alcohol companies have largely affected how much Canadians know about drinking-related health risks. The lobbying efforts of the alcohol industry has disrupted health studies, and even impacted warning labels.

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