Page last updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Every 5 years Educ'alcool conducts a major survey on drinking in Quebec strives to present an accurate picture of the current relationship between Quebecers and alcohol. The survey also provides feedback on what has been accomplished by Educ’alcool and also where new efforts need to be focused.

Alcohol is assuming an increasingly "normal" place in Quebec Society, as it becomes a more accepted and acceptable part of day-to-day affairs, associated with good times and healthy enjoyment of life. Eight out of ten Quebecers aged 15 and older (82%) drink alcohol: 23% drink more than once a week, 12% drink once a week, and 38% drink occasionally; 18% do not drink at all.

The proportion of wine drinkers is up considerably since 1966 with wine now the alcoholic beverage of choice for 72% ,usurping the position held by beer for so long. Now 64% drink beer and 44% drink spirits.

People drink most frequently at home (58%) and at friends homes (17%).The primary reason for drinking was to celebrate a happy event (89%), when dining in a restaurant (79%) at home (78%). Although the following figures are higher than in 1966, fewer people admit to drinking to relax (46%) or drinking alone (27%).

There has been progress in terms of people’s knowledge and understanding with 3 out of 4 respondent believing that Quebecers are now more aware of the concept of moderation than they were 5 years ago. The main reason for this being advertising, media coverage and tough drunk-driving laws. The slogan, La moderation a bien meilleur gout ( Moderation is always in better taste), has become something of a proverb in Quebec and 95% of respondents were familiar with it. Respondents believed that moderate drinking meant an average of 2.4 drinks on a single occasion and 90% considered parents to be responsible for educating children about drinking.

The positive result are a good reason to be pleased, however Educ’alcool stressed that complacency must not occur as real problems remain and are a cause for alarm. One quarter of respondent reported health problems (28%), alcoholism and addiction (26%), domestic violence (26%) and road accidents (22%) were the main problems related to excessive drinking. Half the population felt that the current legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 is strict enough, however 50% where in favour of reducing the legal limit to zero, while 48% opposed.

Provided that people drink within low-risk parameters, the increase in drinking is good, but that increase must not lead to higher incidence of 5 drink, or worse,8 drink occasions. In such cases nobody wins.

Educ’alcool will continue to pursue its efforts to convince people that moderation is a rule without exception and that getting plastered even once is too often. A new focus group for Educ’alcool are parents. Due to the increased sense of accountability of Quebecers they feel that teaching children about drinking is primarily the parents responsibility, therefore Educ’alcool will develop programs to support parents in this process as well as advice and information for hosts of parties.

The survey results show where Educ’alcool is at present. A total of 75% said Educ’alcool was very or quite credible organization with a marked increase in those who say they have heard of the organization (57%), this being more than double the 1966 figure of 24%.

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