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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
no smoking sign on brick wall

Tobacco Laws and Enforcement

Smoke-Free Ontario Act

Public Health is mandated to enforce the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA), 2017, within its jurisdiction of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. The Act is the legislative core of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, with the central aim of lowering the provincial smoking rate to the lowest in the country.

Public Smoking and Vaping Restrictions

Under the Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017, you are not permitted to smoke or hold lighted tobacco, cannabis, or use e-cigarettes in any of the following:

  • enclosed workplaces (including work vehicles and trucks)
  • enclosed public places
  • motor vehicles with children under the age of 16
  • common areas of apartment buildings (e.g. hallways, staircases, etc.)
  • designated outdoor spaces, including:
    • schools and children’s playgrounds
    • community recreational centres
    • hospital properties
  • publicly owned sporting/spectator areas
  • restaurant and bar patios, and public areas within 9-metres of a patio
  • within 9 metres of entrances/exits of long-term care homes
  • public areas that fall within 20 metres of:
    • playgrounds
    • sporting/spectator areas
    • schools
    • community recreation centres

To ensure that everyone is informed of, and compliant with, these prohibitions, the Act states that every employer/owner of an enclosed workplace/public place must:

  • ensure compliance of the legislation
  • notify employees that smoking is not allowed
  • post signs (including in washrooms)
  • remove all ashtrays or similar equipment
  • ensure employees who do not comply leave the enclosed workplace

Furthermore, if an employee seeks enforcement of this Act, no employer/owner can:

  • dismiss or threaten the employee
  • discipline or suspend the employee or threaten to do so
  • impose a penalty on the employee
  • intimidate or coerce the employee

You can find more information from the Ministry of Ontario about where you can’t smoke or vape in Ontario.

Tobacco and Vapour Retail

The Act also bans the promotion of tobacco products, and the public display of tobacco and vapour products, in corner stores and gas stations.

The sale of tobacco and vapour products is restricted to persons 19 years of age and over. Retailers who are convicted twice of selling to an underage person, within a 5-year period, are subject to an automatic sales prohibition of 6 months.

Public Health posts a list of current retailer convictions that may qualify a location for sales prohibition.

Would You Like to Request Resources or Make a Complaint?

If you have a question about the Act, require no smoking or retailer signs, or would like to forward information regarding an offence under the Act, please complete our Smoke Free Ontario Complaint and Request Form

School Complaint

For incidences of smoking/vaping tobacco, E-cigarettes, or cannabis on school property, or within 20 metres of school property, please complete the School Incident Report form to report the occurrence to our enforcement officers. This report also applies to witnessing the sale of tobacco, cannabis or E-cigarettes on, or near, school property to those under 19 years of age.

Need More Information About Tobacco Laws and Enforcement?

Call 613-966-5513 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 600 or email the Tobacco Talk Line.

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The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.


Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.