Published October 24, 2022
In Canada, 3 in 4 people claim to consume alcohol twice a year or more frequently. This rate has been consistent over the past few years, suggesting the pandemic did not drive Canadians to the bottle. However, while Canadians aren’t drinking more, they are smoking more. Whether it be cannabis, tobacco, or both, there has been a significant increase in enjoyment of these substances.
This year, 1 in 3 Canadians report consuming tobacco (up +7% compared to pre-pandemic metrics). Not surprisingly, this substance drives the highest percentage of daily consumers, but more importantly, these consumers aren’t exclusive to the one substance. Over 90% of tobacco consumers also consume alcohol or cannabis (or both).
Cannabis consumers report a similar story. Over 90% of cannabis consumers also consume alcohol or tobacco (or both). However, with an increase in Canadians consuming cannabis (hyperlink), we see a jump in the number of Canadians who are consuming alcohol and cannabis (in green below, +4%) and consuming all 3 vices (in blue below, +7%). Those who consume all 3 vices lean slightly more towards being Male over Female and are distributed evenly across age groups 25-50.
Proportion of Buyers by Vice
What are we drinking?
Regular alcohol consumption and openness to cannabis and tobacco consumption appear to go hand in hand. Consumers who have tried cannabis or tobacco are more likely to be regular consumers of every alcohol category. Cannabis consumers are quite a bit more likely to be regular consumers of Spirits such as Whiskey, Tequila, and Liqueur.
Rate of regular alcohol categories use among cannabis and tobacco users
This year, people are consuming beer and wine about as frequently as cannabis or spirits. The average for each substance sits between 6-8 times a month. That being said, there is low interactivity or correlation between consumption of cannabis and alcohol as a total category, suggesting little substitution. A low negative correlation factor between cannabis consumption and beer / wine consumption is observed (-0.1), indicating that there is at least a small level of interaction or substitution between these categories. Meanwhile there is a low positive correlation (+0.2) between cannabis and spirits consumption, indicating that these categories may be interacting or complementing each other. When we dive further into subcategories and demographics, there are higher levels of interactivity, with apparent substitution in some groups and likely complementary consumption in other groups.
What about Abstainers?
16.4% of Canadians do not consume tobacco, cannabis, or any form of alcohol more than once a year. The presence of this group has decreased slightly over the years (-3% since 2020), with no suggestion that this trend will revert. Abstainers are more often found by those under 25. As Canadians age through their 20’s and 30’s, experiencing the many highs and lows that life has to offer, they often will start to experiment more regularly with different substances.
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