Smoke-Free Ontario Act
Information for Retailers
The information provided below is an overview of the legislation. For more details on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act visit http://www.mhp.gov.on.ca/en/smoke-free/default.asp. For additional resources for tobacco vendors and staff training visit www.nottokids.ca. or www.sfoa-training.com. To learn more about tobacco taxation visit www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/tax/tt/.
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act came into force on May 31, 2006. The act prohibits smoking in enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places in Ontario in order to protect workers and the public from the hazards of second-hand smoke. The act also places restrictions on retailer displays and promotions. It places further restrictions on selling tobacco to young people.
- Countertop displays of tobacco products are prohibited.
- Customers are not allowed to handle cigarettes or other tobacco prior to purchase.
- Cigarettes must be displayed in individual package, cartons are not permitted.
- Promotional materials are prohibited.
- Signs referring to sale of tobacco products are permitted only to inform customers that a retailer sells tobacco products and the product price.
- Signs must meet size and colour requirements.
Before selling tobacco to any person who appears to be less then 25 years old, a retailer must request identification and be satisfied that the person is at least 19 years of age. Acceptable identification must include a photograph of the person, together with the person’s date of birth, and it must reasonably appear to have been issued by a government. Some examples would include the Liquor Control Board of Ontario photo card as well as, Ontario driver’s license, military identifications, and Canadian passport or citizenship card.
A significant change to the act is the idea of vicarious liability. That means owners are responsible for their own actions and the actions of their employees. An owner will face an automatic prohibition (unable to sell tobacco products for a set period of time) if a conviction is received at the same address on two or more occasions within a five-year period.
Tobacco refers to cigarettes, pipe tobacco, loose tobacco, cigars, snuff, kreteks, bidis, tobacco sticks and whole leaf tobacco. It does not include nicotine products people use to quit smoking, such as nicotine patches or nicotine gum.