Retailers/Tobacconist/Specialty Vape Shop

Retailer Obligations, Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017

It is the obligation of every retailer of tobacco and vape products to know the law and the requirements to comply with the new legislation. Please review the information below. Contact Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420 and ask to speak with a Tobacco Enforcement Officer if you need more information.


Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 Information Guide for Retailers and Staff

Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 Information Guide for Retailers and Staff


Information for Tobacconist and Specialty Vape Shops

The Smoke-free Ontario Act, 2017 has certain exemptions for tobacconists and specialty vape shops. See the guidelines below to learn the criteria required in order to access these exemptions. You must register as a tobacconist or specialty vape shop with the Grey Bruce Health Unit to qualify for the exemptions. Contact the Grey Bruce Health Unit for an application.

Guidelines for Registration as a Specialty Vape Store

Guidelines for Registration as a Tobacconist


Retailer Responsibility

Before selling tobacco or vape products to any person who appears to be less than 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:

  •  Liquor Control Board of Ontario photo card,
  • Ontario driver’s license,
  • military identifications, and
  • Canadian passport or citizenship card


Vicarious Liability for Tobacco Sales

Owners/operators 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) if a conviction is received at the same address on two or more occasions within a five-year period. 

Tobacco products may include but are not limited 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.


Prohibition of Smoking and Vaping

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 prohibits smoking tobacco and cannabis and vaping any substance in an enclosed workplace (including a work vehicle) or enclosed public place. No Smoking and No Vaping signs must be displayed on every entrance, exit and washroom.



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