Smoking and Vaping Legislation
Smoke-Free Ontario Act and Electronic Cigarettes Act Legislation
The Smoke Free Ontario Act (SFOA) restricts smoking or holding lit tobacco in certain areas and regulates the display, promotion and packaging of tobacco products and accessories. The SFOA prohibits the sale of tobacco products to persons less than 19 years of age. Further amendments to the SFOA are effective January 1, 2016.
New legislation called the Electronic Cigarette Act (ECA) is effective in Ontario as of January 1, 2016, which prohibits youth access to electronic cigarettes.
Related legislation exists at the municipal, federal and provincial levels in Canada. In some cases Canadian municipalities, corporations and community organizations adopt additional smoke-free policies.
For information about the SFOA, the ECA or developing smoke-free workplace policies workplaces in Waterloo Region, call 519-575-4400.
The Smoke-free Ontario Act
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) was enacted on May 31, 2006 by the Province of Ontario. As part of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, the SFOA protects people from exposure to second-hand smoke and discourages young people from starting to smoke.
The SFOA includes, but is not limited to:
- Prohibiting the sale or supply of tobacco products (including smokeless tobacco) to persons less than 19 years of age
- Regulating of display, promotion and packaging of tobacco products in tobacco retail stores
- Prohibiting smoking or holding lit tobacco in the following places:
- Enclosed public place and workplaces, including workplace vehicles across Ontario
- Bar and restaurant patios
- Within 20 metres of a playground with an exemption on private residential property
- Within 20 metres of either a municipally or provincially owned sports fields and sporting area
- Outdoor grounds of hospitals, psychiatric facilities and the outdoor grounds of specified office buildings owned by the Province (except in designated smoking areas)
- Prohibiting smoking or holding lit tobacco in a vehicle containing a person who is less than 16 years of age
- Sell tobacco on university and college campuses
- Prohibiting the sale of flavoured tobacco products (with certain exemptions)
For further details, please refer to: www.ontario.ca/smokefree
Recent updates to SFOA
Effective January 1, 2016, it is illegal to:
- Sell or offer to sell a flavoured tobacco product with a temporary exemption on menthol cigarettes
- Sell or offer to sell tobacco product at specified office buildings owned by the Province
- Sell or offer to sell flavoured tobacco products, with certain exemptions (i.e., menthol and clove until January 1, 2017 and wine, port, whiskey and rum flavoured cigars between 1.4 and 6 grams; all flavoured cigars over 6 grams, flavoured pipe tobacco for an indefinite period)
- Smoke on outdoor grounds of hospitals, psychiatric facilities and the outdoor grounds of specified office buildings owned by the Province (except in designated smoking areas)
The Electronic Cigarette Act
The Electronic Cigarette Act protects youth from the potential harms of electronic cigarettes, minimizes visual cues for those who wish to quit smoking and limits challenges in enforcement. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care is phasing in the implementation of the E-Cigarettes Act. The first phase came into effect January 1st, 2016 focuses on the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to minors. Future phases will focus on the use of e-cigarettes in specified places and regulation of display and promotion of e-cigarettes.
The ECA includes, but is not limited to:
- Prohibiting the sale or supply of e-cigarettes to anyone less than 19 years of age (or who appears to be less than 25 years old without asking for identification)
- Prohibiting the use of false identification to purchase an e-cigarette
- Prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes in retail settings if prescribed signs are not posted
- Prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes in vending machines; and. Prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee because the employee has acted in accordance with the Act
The regulations under the Electronic Cigarette Act will expand over time to include provisions for use in public spaces and workplaces. For more information, please see www.ontario.ca/smokefree
Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services conducts local enforcement activities regarding the Smoke Free Ontario Act and as of January 1, 2016 supports the implementation and comprehensive enforcement of the Electronic Cigarette Act in Waterloo region. Enforcement Officers conduct:
- Inspections on retail stores to enforce the prohibition of sale or supply of tobacco products or electronic cigarettes to persons under 19 years of age
- Inspections of each tobacco retail store enforcing the regulation on display, promotion and packaging of tobacco and ensuring mandatory signage is posted
- Inspections of each secondary school
- Inspections in response to complaints under the Smoke Free Ontario Act of tobacco retail stores, enclosed workplaces, enclosed public places, playgrounds and sports fields
Please call 519-575-4400 to be connected to a Tobacco Enforcement Officer to make a request for information or to file a complaint.
Other related legislation in Canada
Non-Smokers' Health Act
The Non-Smokers Health Act is administered by the Department of Human Resources and Social Development. Smoking restrictions or bans on federal lands and corporations such as correctional services, transportation, communication and banking are regulated under the authority of the Non-Smokers Health Act. The act is related to part II of the Canada Labour Code.
The Tobacco Act is administered by Health Canada. The manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion of tobacco products are regulated under the authority of The Tobacco Act. An Act to amend the Tobacco Act was passed on October 8, 2009. The legislation known as the "Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act":
- Bans the use of flavours and additives in cigarettes, cigarillos and blunt wraps. Blunt wraps are cigar rolling papers
- Bans all tobacco advertising and promotion in newspapers and magazines. This amendment cancels the exception that allowed tobacco advertising in publications with an adult readership of not less than 85 per cent
- Mandate that cigarillos and blunt wraps be sold in packages of no less than 20
The advertising ban is effective October 8, 2009. On July 5, 2010, all flavoured cigarettes, cigarillos, bluntarillos and blunt wraps were banned in tobacco retail stores with some exemptions.
Tobacco Tax Act
The Tobacco Tax Act is administered by the Ministry of Finance. Their mandate is to create a visible deterrent to tobacco tax evasion and other forms of non-compliance.
Ministry of Health and Long Term Care: How the Smoke Free Ontario Act Affects You
Government of Ontario: About the Smoke Free Ontario Act
Government of Ontario: Smoke Free Ontario Act and Regulations (e-laws)
Smoke Free Ontario Act - How the Act Affects Employers and Employees
Smoke Free Ontario Act - How the Act Affects Flavoured Tobacco Products
Smoke Free Ontario Act - How the Act Affects Government Buildings and Properties
Smoke Free Ontario Act - How the Act Affects Hospitals and Hospital Properties
Smoke Free Ontario Act- How the Act Affects Schools
Smoke Free Ontario Act - How the Act Affects Sporting Areas
Electronic Cigarettes Act Fact Sheet for Retailers
Smoke Free Ontario Act Fact Sheet for Retailers