Alcohol

The majority of Canadians use alcohol at social events, with meals, or because they like the taste and how it makes them feel. Alcohol, even with moderate use, can affect fertility and increase a person’s risk for cancers (e.g., breast, esophagus), heart disease, stroke, depression, or injury. Alcohol affects men, women, and young people differently. Teens and young adults are vulnerable because their brains continue to develop until around the age of 25. Women are more vulnerable than men to the effects of alcohol because they are generally of lower weight, have more body fat, and have fewer of the enzymes necessary to break down alcohol. If alcohol is used in pregnancy, the developing, unborn baby is at risk of lifelong difficulties with social, behavioural, physical, attention, and learning difficulties. These challenges may not be noticed until the child is in school. Research also shows alcohol can affect the genetics of future generations.