Frequently Asked Questions

Dividing Line

Q: WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT ENCOURAGING PEOPLE NOT TO SMOKE?

A: Tobacco use ranks as the number one preventable cause of death in Ontario, responsible for 13,000 deaths each year.

Tobacco-related diseases cost the Ontario economy approximately $1.6 billion in health care annually, $4.4 billion in productivity losses and account for at least 500,000 hospital days each year.

The government committed, following its election in 2003, to strengthening tobacco control in Ontario.

Dividing Line

Q: WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GOVERNMENT’S STRATEGY TO REDUCE SMOKING RATES?

The Smoke-Free Ontario strategy will improve the health of all Ontarians by:

Dividing Line

Q: WHY DOES THE GOVERNMENT BELIEVE ITS SMOKE-FREE STRATEGY WILL WORK?

A: The Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy is the most comprehensive tobacco-control strategy Ontario has ever had, and it is among the toughest and most far-reaching tobacco-control strategies in North America.

The strategy is based on internationally-accepted “best practices” guidelines for comprehensive tobacco-control programs and developed with the help of a provincial external advisory committee.

Dividing Line

Q: WHAT IS THE SMOKE-FREE ONTARIO ACT?

A: The act is a core element of the Smoke-Free Ontario strategy.

It is a landmark piece of legislation that shields workers and the public from the harmful effects of tobacco by banning smoking in enclosed public places and enclosed work places.

It also strengthens laws on tobacco sales to minors and, as of May 31, 2008, banned the display of tobacco products at point of sale.

Smoking is banned in all enclosed public places and enclosed workplaces, with a few exceptions including residential care facilities, designated veterans’ facilities and psychiatric facilities, that have the option to build a controlled smoking area; and hotel guest rooms designated as smoking rooms.

Designated smoking rooms (DSRs) in restaurants, bars and other workplaces are prohibited.

Smoking is not allowed on restaurant and bar patios that have roofs.

As of May 31, 2008, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act protects the display of tobacco products when they are sold.

Dividing Line

Q: WHEN DID THE SFOA TAKE EFFECT?

A: The Smoke-Free Ontario Act came into force on May 31, 2006.

Dividing Line

Q: WHAT IS NEW ABOUT THE LEGISLATION?

A: As of January 21, 2009, any person – driver or passenger – in a motor vehicle, who is smoking while someone else under the age of 16 is present, will be committing an offence and be subject to a fine of up to $250. The law will apply to both moving and stationary vehicles and will apply to motor vehicles, regardless of whether any window, sunroof, rooftop, door, or other feature of the vehicle is open.

Dividing Line

Q: WHERE IS SMOKING PROHIBITED?

A: Smoking is prohibited in enclosed public places and enclosed workplaces, such as:

As of January 21, 2009, any person – driver or passenger – in a motor vehicle, who is smoking while someone else under the age of 16 is present, will be committing an offence and subject to a fine of up to $250.

Dividing Line

Q: HOW IS THE ACT ENFORCED?

A: Enforcement officers with Ontario’s local public health units enforce the act, with the exception of the legislation on smoking in motor vehicles with passengers under 16, which will be enforced by the police.

Dividing Line

Q: WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?

A: For information about enforcement and to learn more about the Act, contact your local public health unit. Find the local public health unit in your area by visiting.

You may also obtain information by visiting the Ontario government’s website, Ontario.ca/smokefree.

Or call our toll-free InfoLine:
1-866-396-1760
TTY 1-800-387-5559

Hours of operation:
Monday to Friday
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.