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There are many benefits to smoke-free spaces, including:

Reducing the health risks of second-hand smoke
De-normalizing tobacco use
Creating a healthier environment

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The Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA), 2017 regulates the sale, supply, use, display and promotion of both tobacco and vapour products while also regulating the smoking and vaping of cannabis. The SFOA, 2017 is enforced by Health Unit Tobacco Enforcement officers and protects and regulates smoking in public places.

In addition to the below spaces where the smoking of tobacco was previously restricted under the former SFOA, this new Act prohibits both smoking of tobacco or cannabis as well as the vaping of any substance in/on:

  • Enclosed (indoor) public places
  • Enclosed work places such as office buildings, factories, vehicles
  • Common areas of multi-unit dwellings such as apartment buildings and condos
  • Playgrounds and sport fields- on and within 20 meters of any playground or municipal sports field.
  • Hospitals- includes inside of premise as well as entire hospital property.
  • Long-Term Care Homes- includes inside of premise as well as within 9 meters of any entrance or exit.
  • Motor Vehicles- while children under 16 years old is present.
  • Child care centres and home child care locations
  • Spectator areas of sport and entertainment venues

New under SFOA, 2017

  • Bar and Restaurant patios - on and within 9 metres of a restaurant or bar patio.
  • Schools - on and within 20 metres of the school property.
  • Recreational Facilities - on and within a 20 metres of the entire property.

A Guide for Retailers is available to help owners, employers and employees understand the requirements set out in the SFOA, 2017 regarding the sale, supply, display and promotion of tobacco and vapour products. You can also learn more about selling and displaying tobacco and vapour products on Government of Ontario website.

Changes made to the SFOA, 2017 also affect Tobacconists and Speciality Vape Store owners.

In addition to restricting places were smoking and vaping is allowed, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA, 2017) prohibits the display and promotion of tobacco products, branded tobacco product accessories, vapour products, and any other prescribed product or substance at places where they are sold. It also bans the sale of tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and e-juice to anyone under the age of 19.

These regulations have already been in place for tobacco products under the previous legislation, but the regulations related to vapour products, e-cigarettes, and other prescribed products and substances are new under the SFOA, 2017.  Learn more about the rules for selling tobacco and vapour products on the Government of Ontario website.

Tobacconist and Speciality Vape Store Registration

The regulation will include exemptions for Tobacconists and Specialty Vape Stores to display these products if specific conditions are met. These exemptions require business owners to register annually with the Windsor-Essex County Board of Health by completing the Application for Registration as a Speciality Vape Store or Tobacconist and follow the conditions outlined below:

Tobacconists:

  • Are permitted to display and promote tobacco products, if a minimum of 85% of the store's revenues or inventory is dedicated to speciality tobacco products.
  • These requirements have expanded from 50% under the previous Act.
  • The other 15% of store's revenue/inventory can be dedicated to items associated or branded with the name of the tobacconist or a brand of tobacco (not food or lottery).

Speciality vape store:

  • Individuals must be 19 years or older to enter.
  • Sampling or testing of vape products is permitted, provided no more than two patrons at a time.
  • Are permitted to display and promote vapour products, if a minimum of 85% of the store's revenues or inventory is dedicated to vapour products.
  • The other 15% of store's revenue/ inventory can be dedicated to items associated or branded with the name of the vape store or a brand of vape product (not food or lottery).
  • Are not allowed to sell tobacco products.

If you have any questions related to the SFOA, 2017 please contact us at Tobacco Enforcement Hotline at 519-258-2146 ext. 3100.

“No smoking” and “no vaping” signs are required by law at all places where the smoking of tobacco and cannabis, and vaping of any substance is prohibited under SFOA, 2017. Tobacco and e-cigarette retailers are also required to post additional signage. For more information, visit the Ministry’s website.

If you are responsible for the operation of a business, enclosed public space, or other space in which smoking and vaping is prohibited, you are required to post signage.

To request free signage from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, contact us at 519-258-2146 ext. 3100 or complete the online Signage Order form.

If you have questions or witness someone smoking, vaping, or otherwise not complying with these regulations you may submit a complaint by:

You can also submit an anonymous complaint if you witness smoking or vaping in your workplace through the Take Your Butt Outside website.

When submitting a complaint, please provide as much information as possible, including date, time, location and activity taking place (e.g., smoking in workplace vehicle). All complaints are investigated by a Tobacco Enforcement Officer.

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 provides protection in certain public places from second-hand smoke and vapour in many public spaces. Municipalities and organizations are encouraged to create more smoke-free spaces through the development of smoke-free policies. Several local municipalities are better protecting their residents by passing by-laws which provide even more smoke/vape-free spaces for residents to enjoy.

  • The City of Windsor passed their updated smoke-free by-law in November, 2016.
  • By-Law #113-2006 includes: no smoking on City of Windsor owned properties including parks, conservation areas, marinas, community and recreation facilities, as well as any associated parking lot walkway, and 9 m from any municipal building entrance/exit. 
  • The following products are prohibited in these spaces: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes, hookah/waterpipe, lighted or heated equipment used to smoke or vaporize any tobacco or non-tobacco product.
  • For full details visit the City of Windsor’s municipal website
  • The Town of Amherstburg passed their smoke-free by-law in December, 2016.
  • By-Law #2016-113 includes: no smoking on Town of Amherstburg owned outdoor properties, including parks, playgrounds, trails or pathways, recreational and community facilities, as well as any associated parking lot, and 9 m from any municipal building entrance or exit.
  • The following products are prohibited in these spaces: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes, hookah/waterpipe, lighted or heated equipment used to smoke or vaporize any tobacco or non-tobacco product, and smokeless tobacco. 
  • For full details visit Town of Amherstburg’s municipal website
  • The Town of Essex passed their smoke-free by-law in October, 2014.
  • By-law #1228 includes: no smoking in parks, playgrounds, sports fields (beyond 20m), and recreation facilities (excluding parking lots and Designated Smoking Areas).
  • The following products are prohibited in these spaces: Hookah/waterpipe, lighted or heated smoking equipment used to smoke or vaporize any tobacco or non-tobacco substance.
  • For full by-law details visit the Town of Essex’s municipal website
  • The Town of Lakeshore, the first municipality to have a smoke-free outdoor space by-law, passed their policy (#6-2012) in October, 2012.
  • Recently it was updated to include no smoking in parks, playgrounds, sports fields (beyond 20m), and recreation facilities.
  • The following products are prohibited in these spaces: Hookah/waterpipe, lighted or heated smoking equipment used to smoke or vaporize any tobacco or non-tobacco substance, and smokeless tobacco.
  • For full by-law details visit the Town of Lakeshore’s municipal website.
  • The Town of LaSalle passed their smoke-free by-law in July, 2015.
  • By-law #7775 includes: no smoking in parks (beyond 20m), recreation facilities, conservation areas, and within 9m of a municipal building entrance/exit.
  • The following products are prohibited in these spaces: Hookah/waterpipe, lighted or heated smoking equipment used to smoke or vaporize any tobacco or non-tobacco substance, and smokeless tobacco.
  • For full by-law details visit the Town of LaSalle’s municipal website.
  • The Municipality of Leamington passed their updated smoke-free outdoor space by-law in January, 2015.
  • By-law (#311-13) includes: no smoking on recreational facility property (excluding parking lots), and 9m from the entrance/exit to a municipal building.
  • The following products are prohibited in these spaces: Lighted or heated smoking equipment used to smoke tobacco including, cigarettes, cigars, and hookah/waterpipe.
  • For full by-law details visit the Town of Leamington’s municipal website.
  • The Town of Tecumseh passed their smoke-free outdoor space by-law in July, 2014.
  • By-law #2014-60 includes: no smoking in parks, playgrounds & sports fields (beyond 20m), as well as recreational facilities (excluding parking lots).
  • The following products are prohibited in these areas: Hookah/waterpipe, lighted or heated smoking equipment used to smoke or vaporize any tobacco or non-tobacco substance, and smokeless tobacco.
  • For full by-law details visit the Town of Tecumseh’s municipal website.
  • The Town of Kingsville updated their smoke-free by-law in October, 2016
  • By-Law #96-2016 includes: no smoking on Town of Kingsville outdoor properties including parks, beaches, playgrounds, sports fields, recreation facilities, boat ramp property, any associated parking lots, and within 9m from any municipal building entrance/exit.
  • For full by-law details visit the Town of Kingsville’s municipal website.
  • ERCA banned smoking in their conservation areas in November, 2013. In November, 2018 their policy was updated to include the smoking or vaping of any tobacco or non-tobacco product including but not limited to:
    • smoking or holding lighted tobacco,
    • the activation or use of an electronic cigarette
    • the use of a hookah/waterpipe
    • the smoking or vaping of cannabis as described in the Federal Cannabis Act.
  • For specific details of their policy, please visit ERCA’s website.

There is no safe amount of exposure to second-hand smoke, so it is important to make your home 100% smoke-free. Second-hand smoke spreads to every room of a house, even when the doors are closed and windows are open.

How to make your home smoke-free:

  • Discuss ways to make your home smoke-free with all people living there
  • Share with others your reasons for having a smoke-free home
  • Remove all ash-trays and lighters
  • Make an outdoor smoking area away from doors and windows
  • Display a “smoke-free home” decal on your door. For a free decal please contact us using the Questions/Comments form on this page.
  • Ask smokers to take it outside to your designated area. Be polite but firm.
  • Thank everyone for respecting your smoke-free home.

The majority of Ontarians living in apartments, condos, duplexes, or other multi-unit dwellings do not smoke in their homes and prefer smoke-free environments. These residents can still be impacted by the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, as up to 65% of the air in a unit can come from other units in the building. A smoke-free policy across all units means cleaner and fresher indoor air for all residents as well as a reduced risk of fire.

To respond to health concerns, Ontario landlords and housing providers are now offering more smoke-free options for residents of multi-unit dwellings.

Multi-unit dwellings include but are not limited to:

  • Multi-storey apartment buildings and condominiums
  • Houses partitioned into separate apartments
  • Duplexes and triplexes
  • Row houses
  • Semi-detached houses

The Smoke Free Housing Ontario website is a great resource if you’re a landlord or property managertenantcondominium owner, or housing co-op member. There are a number of tools and resources to help you make your home or property smoke-free.

Section 10 of the Standard Lease makes it easier for landlords and tenants to agree to smoke-free policies. This section gives space to describe the details of the policy. The standard lease is mandatory for most residential leases.

For more information about the Standard Lease, including which housing providers are required to use it, see the regulations.

The Smoke-free Housing Ontario website includes a list of smoke-free rental buildings in Windsor-Essex County and across Ontario.

If you are and owner or property manage of a smoke-free multi-unit dwelling that is not include on the list let us know. Contact is at 519-258-2146 ext. 3100 or email us at tobacco@wechu.org.

Our Health Unit offers a package for landlords or property managers which includes information on how to make your property smoke-free. 

For assistance in creating or implementing your smoke-free policy contact us at 519-258-2146 ext. 3100 or complete the Questions/Comments Form on this page.

It is against the law for any person – driver or passenger – to smoke or vape in a vehicle with a child under the age of 16. The person who is charged with smoking or vaping would be subject to a fine up to $155. The law applies to moving and stationary vehicles and to motor vehicles, regardless of whether any window, sunroof, door or other feature is open. 

Smoking in vehicles can be up to 27 times more concentrated than in a smoker’s home because of the enclosed and smaller space. Even if there is no smoking when children are present, there will still be toxin residue present that can harm everyone (this is often referred to as third-hand smoke).

How to make your car smoke-free:
  • Display a smoke-free car decal on your window. For a free decal please contact us using the Questions/Comments form on this page.
  • Let people travelling with you know that the car is smoke-free and offer to stop for cigarette breaks if necessary.
  • Ensure that children are supervised or you have a clear view of them when stepping outside your car to smoke. Finish your cigarette before getting back into the car.
  • Thank everyone for respecting your decision to make your car smoke-free.

For more information on making your car smoke-free, please visit the Health Canada website.

The use of tobacco and vapour products as well as the smoking or vaping of cannabis in an enclosed workplace or workplace vehicle is prohibited under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017.

Under the SFOA, 2017 employers must ensure staff and patrons comply with the law, post signage, and ensure no ashtrays remain in an indoor workplace. If you are an employer or business owner and need signs for your workplace, complete this signage form.

If you have questions or witness someone smoking, vaping, or otherwise not complying with these regulations in a workplace you may submit a complaint by:

It's illegal for an employer or person acting on their behalf to intimidate, discipline, penalize, or dismiss any employee who has sought enforcement of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017.

Our Health Unit offers a package for employers which includes facts about the cost of smoking in the workplace, examples of smoke-free workplace policies, and sample pay stub inserts to inform employees of smoke-free policies.

For assistance in creating or implementing your smoke-free policy contact us at 519-258-2146 ext. 3100 or email us at tobacco@wechu.org.

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