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Taking the Next Steps for a Smoke-Free Ontario

News Release

Taking the Next Steps for a Smoke-Free Ontario

Ontario Helping to Further Protect Youth from the Harmful Effects of Tobacco

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is taking the next steps to protect youth from the harmful effects of smoking so they can lead healthy, active lives.

The province will introduce legislation and propose regulatory changes that would, if passed, strengthen the Smoke-Free Ontario Act by increasing penalties for selling tobacco to kids and further limiting smoking in public areas.

The proposed measures include:

  • Prohibiting smoking on playgrounds, sport fields, and restaurant and bar patios.
  • Increasing fines for those who sell tobacco to youth, making Ontario's penalties the highest in Canada.
  • Banning the sale of flavoured tobacco products to make smoking less appealing to young people.
  • Strengthening enforcement to allow for testing of tobacco in waterpipes in indoor public places.
  • Prohibiting tobacco sales on post-secondary education campuses and specified provincial government properties, such as Macdonald Block in Toronto and 1 Stone Road in Guelph.

These measures build on steps the government has already taken, including protecting kids from tobacco exposure in motor vehicles, prohibiting tobacco use in indoor public places and workplaces, and banning the sale of flavoured cigarillos.

Preventing youth from starting to use tobacco and protecting them from the harmful effects of second hand smoke will help to achieve the government's Action Plan for Health Care goal to have the lowest smoking rate in the country. This is part of the Ontario government's plan to build a successful, vital province where everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and achieve their goals.

Quick Facts

  • 66 per cent of people in Ontario want smoking to be prohibited on restaurant and bar patios.
  • 58 Ontario municipalities representing 61 per cent of the population already ban smoking on playgrounds.
  • Each year, tobacco claims 13,000 lives in Ontario — equivalent to 36 lives every day.
  • Tobacco-related disease costs Ontario’s health care system an estimated $1.9 billion in direct health care costs and an additional $5.8 billion in indirect costs such as lost productivity.
  • Ontario’s smoking rate fell from 24.5 per cent in 2000 to 19 per cent in 2012, representing 255,000 fewer smokers.

Background Information

Additional Resources


Deb Matthews

“We know that if we can prevent youth from smoking in the first place, fewer people will become addicted to tobacco. These measures will help to achieve our goal of having the lowest smoking rate in the country — because we want to reduce Ontarians’ exposure to the harmful effects of tobacco and lessen the burden of tobacco-related diseases our health care system.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

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