Reducing your risk of harm from alcohol

To reduce your cancer risk, we recommend you:

  • Limit how much alcohol you drink
  • or better still, don't drink alcohol. 

If you drink alcohol, we recommended you stay within National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) low risk drinking guidelines, which advise:

  • No more than 10 standard drinks a week, and no more than 4 on any one occasion for healthy men and women to reduce the risk of alcohol-related disease or injury. The less you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol.
  • Children and people under 18 years should not drink alcohol to reduce the risk of injury and other harms to health.
  • To prevent harm from alcohol to their unborn child, women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol. For women who are breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest for their baby.

Find out more about the NHMRC guidelines for low-risk  alcohol use.


What is a standard drink?

A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol. Alcoholic drinks sold in Australia are required to state on the label the approximate number of standard drinks they contain. You can use this information to estimate how much alcohol you are drinking.

Different types of alcoholic drinks contain different amounts of alcohol.

One standard drink is equal to:
• One 375ml can or stubbie of mid-strength beer
• 100ml of wine (13.5% alcohol)
• 30ml of spirits
• One 250ml can of full strength pre-mix spirits (5% alcohol)

Typically, a bottle of full strength beer has around 1.4 standard drinks and an average serving of a glass of red wine has around 1.6 standard drinks. 

Pouring your own drinks and avoiding ‘rounds' make it easier to keep track of how much you drink.

Tips to reduce your drinking

Here are some tips for drinking at low-risk levels:

  • Aim to have a few alcohol-free days a week
  • Limit how much alcohol you keep at home
  • Swap to low- or no-alcohol alternatives
  • Count your drinks to help you stay within the low-risk drinking guidelines
  •  Set limits for yourself and stick to them
  •  Start with non-alcoholic drinks and alternate with alcoholic drinks
  •  Drink slowly
  • Eat before or while you are drinking
  • If you participate in rounds of drinks, try to include some non-alcoholic drinks
  •  Water down alcoholic drinks with ice


For more tips on reducing your drinking, visit the Alcohol.Think Again website.