Nearly three-quarters of Canadians say they aren’t changing their drinking habits despite recent national guidelines warning that greater than two alcoholic drinks per week can increase risks of cancer, stroke and heart disease.
That’s in accordance with a recent Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News, which also found that greater than half of the respondents believed the beneficial variety of drinks was so low that it lacked credibility and was nothing but fear-mongering tactics. This belief was higher amongst men (61 per cent) than women (53 per cent).
The hesitation of many Canadians to vary their alcohol consumption comes after the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) released a advice in January stating that even moderate drinking — anything greater than two drinks per week — can put your health in danger.
The definition of a normal drink in Canada is reminiscent of a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, a shot glass of spirits or a bottle of cider.
There are some shifts in attitudes but more so with younger Canadians, explained Sean Simpson, senior vice-president with Ipsos Public Affairs.
“There may be an enormous divide by age. Evidently younger Canadians are more concerned concerning the level of alcohol they devour. They’re more prone to be taking steps to cut back their consumption, more prone to consider that alcohol consumption is linked to each their physical and their mental health,” he said.
The poll found that younger Canadians usually tend to say they’re considering Health Canada’s recent drinking guidelines. For instance, 36 per cent of respondents aged 18-34 said they consumed an excessive amount of alcohol and noted its negative impact on their physical and mental health. Meanwhile, only five per cent of Canadians 55 years old and up mirrored that opinion.
Amongst Canadians who drink, 4 in 10 said they’ve reduce their drinking for the reason that recent 12 months, which jumps to over half amongst those aged 18-34. But only 37 per cent of those 55 years and up said they’ve done the identical. Similarly, almost two in 10 respondents said they participated in either ‘Dry January’ or ‘Dry February,’ which climbs to almost a 3rd amongst those aged 18-34 and only seven per cent for those 55 years and up.
Although plainly older persons are more prone to ignore the federal government’s drinking recommendations, a majority of Canadians should think twice before having that extra drink.
The poll found 53 per cent of Canadians said they may make higher decisions with regards to their alcohol consumption in consequence of those recent guidelines from Health Canada.
Simpson believes there are a number of other elements at play contributing to Canadian’s drinking habits.
For instance, he argued that increased immigration within the country may result in fewer people drinking.
“Immigrants are inclined to be just a little bit younger and lots of are coming from cultures where alcohol consumption shouldn’t be an on a regular basis occurrence prefer it can have been historically for Eurocentric communities that were traditionally the immigration patterns many years ago,” Simpson said.
There may be also the argument that young people could also be drinking less because they’re trading one vice for one more one, comparable to cannabis.
Now that marijuana is legal in Canada, many individuals might be switching from booze to weed, Simpson said.
It shouldn’t be known just what number of Canadians have made the switch, but national data on beer sales shows early signs of falling consumption in 2019, after cannabis was legalized, though experts caution that a longer-term shift would take years, possibly a generation, to make itself felt.
Even when there may be a shift, Simpson said young persons are still spearheading the change in drinking habits within the country.
“Clearly, the trend here, especially for younger people, is reducing their alcohol consumption, whether it’s replaced by other forms … actually the trend is towards less alcohol,” Simpson said.
These are among the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between Feb.15 and 17, 2023, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,350 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed. Quotas and weighting were employed to be certain that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population in accordance with census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. On this case, the poll is accurate to inside ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18 and over been polled. The credibility interval can be wider amongst subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls could also be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
— with files from Patrick Cain, Global News’ Saba Aziz and Katherine Ward
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.