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Alcohol Consumption Reduction: Limiting Access to Alcohol


  • Alcohol reduction,
  • Physical environment,
  • Community,

Limiting Access to Alcohol

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of many chronic diseases including certain types of cancer.1 In 2015, approximately 280 new cancer cases diagnosed in Alberta were linked to alcohol consumption.1 Responsible alcohol consumption can be positively influenced by our environments. Communities can limit convenient access to alcohol or provide non-alcoholic drink options at community and/or business events, for example.

Research shows that when the sale of alcohol is limited to 9 to 14 hours per day with no early morning or late night operation, a reduction in alcohol-related harm may occur.2,10 Currently, the Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission (AGLC) permits the sales and consumption of alcohol from 10 am – 2 am which is a total of 16 hours per day.

Ways to get started

  • Reduce the density of alcohol outlets in the community through working with municipalities to create or modify licensing and zoning by-laws.2-4 For example, land-use bylaws can regulate liquor outlets around schools.
  • Support provincial government to reduce hours of operation for alcohol sale outlets by working with stakeholders and town council.
  • Encourage responsible serving in liquor stores, restaurants, clubs and other locations where liquor is sold or served.
  • Promote participation with local and regional media to get your message out.5,6

For further action to reduce alcohol use in your community, see


Multi-component community-wide interventions that increase awareness about and provide opportunities to reduce alcohol use in your community will have greater impact than implementing single, one-off strategies.

Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines: 

  1. What you expect to learn or change
  2. What you measure and report
  3. How to measure impact

What you expect to learn about limiting access to alcohol may include:

  • Learning that the strategy was implemented as planned
  • Implementing new or revised liquor-related policies
  • Increasing liquor prices
  • Reducing liquor purchases
  1. Grevers X, Ruan Y, Poirier AE, Walter SD, Villeneuve PJ, Friedenreich CM, Brenner DR. Estimates of the current and future burden of cancer attributable to alcohol consumption in Canada. Preventive Medicine. 2019;122:40-8.
  2. Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission (AADAC), Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse and Health Canada. Reducing alcohol-related harm in Canada: toward a culture of moderation. Ottawa (ON): National Alcohol Strategy Working Group; 2007. Available from:
  3. Durham Region Health Department, Region of Waterloo, Public Health, Halton Region Health Department, York Region Community and Health Services, Public Health Branch. Addressing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms at the local level: a resource for public health professionals in Ontario. Waterloo (ON): Alcohol Locally Driven Collaborative Project (LDCP); 2014. Available from:
  4. World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe. Evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm. Geneva (SW): WHO; 2009. Available from:
  5. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Alcohol-use disorders: prevention. NICE guideline. London: NICE; 2010. Available from:
  6. Cancer Care Ontario, Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). Taking action to prevent chronic disease: recommendations for a healthier Ontario. Toronto (ON): Cancer Care Ontario and Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario); 2012. Available from:
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