Smoke-Free Ontario Act - FAQs

What is the Smoke-Free Ontario Act?

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 and vaping by banning smoking and vaping in enclosed public places and enclosed work places. It also strengthens laws on tobacco and vapour product sales to minors and restricts the display of tobacco and products in some retail outlets.

What is the goal of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act?

To reduce consumption of tobacco products and to lessen tobacco-related disease in Ontario. 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.

Where is smoking prohibited?

The smoking of tobacco or cannabis and vaping anything is not allowed in enclosed places where people are employed, or to which the public has access, such as:

  • Offices and buildings
  • Work vehicles
  • Bars & restaurants (including patios)
  • Hospitals & residential care facilities
  • Schools (including school grounds)
  • Licensed day cares & private home day cares
  • Public transportation (including boarding and waiting areas)
  • Taxi cabs, & limousines
  • Shopping malls
  • Arenas
  • Casinos & bingo halls
  • Private clubs & legion halls
  • Bowling alleys
  • Common areas of condominiums, apartment buildings, college and university residences

The smoking of tobacco or cannabis and vaping anything is not allowed in outdoor spaces, such as:

  • Within 20m of children's playground area
  • Sporting area, spectator sporting areas and public areas within 20m of any point on the perimeter of sporting area or spectator area if the area is owned by the Province, a municipality, or by a post-secondary institution
  • Hospital grounds except in designated smoking area
Where is smoking permitted indoors?

Smoking tobacco and vaping anything is permitted in the following enclosed places:

  • Private homes not used for day care

  • Private vehicles where there are no children under the age of 16 

    • Exception: No one in a motor vehicle can consume cannabis in any way (smoking, vaping, eating) unless they are a passenger who is a medical cannabis user (edibles only).

  • Designated smoking guest rooms in hotels, motels, and inns

  • Approved controlled smoking areas in designated residential care, psychiatric, and veterans' facilities. 

How is the Act enforced?

Tobacco Enforcement Officers working with Thunder Bay District Health Unit are responsible for conducting workplace inspections, tobacco vendor inspections and ensuring compliance with the Act.  They also provide information and education on the Act.

Municipal bylaw enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing local tobacco-free bylaws which are separate from the SFOA. Contact your local bylaw office for more information.

Where can I get more information on the Act?

For further information on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and how it affects you, contact our Tobacco Enforcement team: (807) 625-5900 or toll-free 1 (888) 294-6630. Visit How the Smoke-Free Ontario Act Affects You Fact Sheets.