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New Legislation Passes to Help Reduce Smoking and Obesity Rates

News Release

New Legislation Passes to Help Reduce Smoking and Obesity Rates

Ontario Takes Action to Help Families Make Healthier Choices

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Today, the Ontario government passed the Making Healthier Choices Act, which will help families make healthier food choices by giving them caloric information when eating out or purchasing take-away meals. The act will also protect youth from the dangers of tobacco and the potential harms of electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes.

As part of the government's commitment to achieve the lowest smoking rate in Canada, the new legislation will:

  • Increase the maximum fines for those who sell tobacco to youth, making Ontario's maximum fines the highest in Canada
  • Ban the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19
  • Ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products, with a temporary exemption for menthol flavoured products.

The new legislation will also make it illegal to:

  • Use e-cigarettes in designated non-smoking areas
  • Sell e-cigarettes in certain places where the sale of tobacco is prohibited
  • Display e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes are sold, or offered for sale
  • Promote e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes or tobacco products are sold, or offered for sale.

To make it easier for families to make informed and healthy food choices, the new legislation will:

  • Require restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores and other food service premises with 20 or more locations in Ontario who sell ready-to-eat and prepared food to post calories for standard food and beverage items, including alcohol, on menus and menu boards
  • Require regulated food service operators to post contextual information to help educate patrons about their daily caloric requirements
  • Authorize the minister to appoint inspectors to enforce menu labelling requirements.

Providing Ontarians with caloric information, and protecting youth from the dangers of tobacco and the potential harm of e-cigarettes is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy and a health care system that's sustainable for generations to come.

Quick Facts

  • Each year, tobacco claims 13,000 lives in Ontario – equivalent to 36 lives every day.
  • One in four Ontario high school smokers have smoked menthol cigarettes in the last 30 days (Canada’s 2012-13 Youth Smoking Survey).
  • Over 60 per cent of large chain restaurants with more than 20 locations in Ontario already provide nutritional information voluntarily to their customers (upon demand, on websites or in store).
  • According to a 2011 Ipsos Reid study, approximately 95 per cent of Ontarians support requiring fast food restaurants to list nutrition information on their menus.

Background Information

Additional Resources

Quotes

Dipika Damerla

“This piece of legislation puts Ontario in a leadership position when it comes to helping lower smoking rates and fight obesity by eating better. The passing of the Making Healthier Choices Act will protect Ontarians from the dangers of second-hand smoke, and protect our youth from tobacco products and e-cigarettes. It will also help families to make healthier choices when eating out.”

Dipika Damerla

Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“The Making Healthier Choices Act ends the tobacco industry's practise of adding flavours to its Ontario products, which in turn will make them less attractive to youth. The government deserves credit for closing a loophole in previous legislation and further limiting the industry's access to our most vulnerable citizens. As well, regulation of e-cigarettes as provided by the Making Healthier Choices Act will provide reasonable control of the use and promotion of these products until research on their impact and effectiveness is much more conclusive.”

Michael Perley

Director, Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

“The Heart and Stroke Foundation commends the Ontario government’s commitment to reducing obesity and smoking rates in the province. The Making Healthier Choices Act will protect our youth from the deadly effects of tobacco and will empower Ontarians to make informed and healthy food choices for themselves and their families. Together, we are making progress to help Ontarians live healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke.”

Mark Holland

Executive Director, Ontario Mission, Heart and Stroke Foundation

“Banning flavoured tobacco products, including menthol, is a decisive step in better protecting youth by discouraging experimentation and tobacco use. The Canadian Cancer Society and our volunteers celebrate the passing of Bill 45 because it will help prevent cancer and save lives.”

Rowena Pinto

Vice-President, Public Affairs, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division

“7-Eleven is committed to providing nutrition information to help our customers make healthier and more informed choices; and we support the Government of Ontario's objective to increase nutrition transparency. We look forward to continue partnering with the provincial government to develop calorie and menu labeling regulations.”

Nick Angelo

Senior Product Director, 7-Eleven Canada

Media Contacts

  • Andrew Robertson

    Associate Minister’s Office

    416-325-3754

  • David Jensen

    Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

    ontario.ca/health-news

    416-314-6197

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