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Facts about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act

On October 17, 2018, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) was amended to include tobacco, electronic cigarettes and cannabis. This includes where these products are able to be used and where they are able to be sold.  The goal of this legislation is to protect the health of all Ontarians and decrease exposure to the public, especially the youth of Ontario.

Key changes to the SFOA

The SFOA regulates the smoking and vaping of tobacco, electronic cigarettes and cannabis to protect the people of Ontario, especially youth, from the harms of tobacco, the potential harms of vapour products, and the harms of second hand cannabis smoke.

Highlighted below are some of the Provincial changes to the SFOA, 2017 that include no smoking/vaping in the following places:

  • Within 9 metres of a restaurant, bar patio and public areas within 9 metres of a patio.
  • Children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20 metres of play grounds.
  • Within 20 metres of a sporting area or spectator area (including but not limited to skating, soccer, football, swimming, baseball).
  • Within 20 metres of a school property.

These changes are in addition to what was already under the SFOA, for further details on this regulation see Ontario Regulation 268/18.


The SFOA, 2017 also regulates the sale and supply of tobacco and vapour products, and the display and promotion of tobacco products, tobacco product accessories and vapour products

On January 1, 2020, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA, 2017) was amended to include further restrictions on the sale of vapour products.

These restrictions include the following:

  • Retailers will no longer be able to display vapour products. This includes electronic cigarettes and its components, e-liquid (e.g., “e-juice”) and e-liquid pods.
  • Retail outlets will no longer be able to promote the sale of vapour products by means of any commercial act or practice or any use of commercial communication through media or other means that is intended to encourage the sale of these products (e.g., signage and advertising).

Further details on this regulation can be found at: Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017

Retailers that sell tobacco and vapour products have a legal responsibility to ensure that they and their employees understand and comply with the requirements under the SFOA, 2017. This guide is intended for owners and employees of retail businesses that sell tobacco products, tobacco product accessories, and/or vapour products. It is intended to help you understand the requirements of the SFOA, 2017 regarding the sale, supply, display and promotion of tobacco products and vapour products, as well as smoking and vaping restrictions for enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places:  Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017: Guide for Retailers


Porcupine Health Unit Enforcement officers are unable to enforce those who choose to smoke tobacco, cannabis or vape in their private residence. This can only be enforced in common areas of buildings that include apartment buildings or complexes.

  • Tenants are encouraged to talk to their landlord or refer to their current lease agreement.
  • Landlords are able to develop their own internal policies.
  • Tenants/landlords are encouraged to visit the following website for more information on Smoke Free Housing:

For Further Information

Please contact the Porcupine Health Unit at 705-267-1181 or 1-800-461-1818 or by email at [email protected] should you have any questions.