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  • In its 2016 Budget, the Ontario government raised tobacco taxes by $3/carton as of February 25, 2016. A 2% inflationary increase will take effect on June 1, 2017 and annually thereafter until June 2021.

  • On January 1, 2016, the following Smoke-Free Ontario Act and Electronic Cigarettes Act regulations came into effect:
    • Prohibition on the sale of all flavoured tobacco products (with the exception of flavoured pipe tobacco, cigars meeting certain weight and flavour requirements, menthol and clove flavoured tobacco).
    • All outdoor grounds of hospitals and specified government buildings are 100% smoke-free unless the Board/proprietor approves a designated smoking area that meets specific requirements.
    • The sale of e-cigarettes to minors is prohibited.

  • On May 26, 2015, the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 45, the Making Healthier Choices Act, 2014. The legislation will:
    • Ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products, with a delayed implementation date for menthol-flavoured tobacco products.
    • Ban the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19.
    • Prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in certain places where the smoking of tobacco is prohibited.
    • Ban the sale of e-cigarettes in certain places where the sale of tobacco is prohibited.
    • Prohibit the display and promotion of e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes or tobacco products are sold, or offered for sale.
    • Increase maximum fines for those who sell tobacco to youth, making Ontario's maximum fines the highest in Canada.

    In addition to tobacco control measures, the bill also addresses healthy food choices by:

    • Requiring calories for standard food and beverage items, including alcohol, to be posted on menus and menu boards in restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores and other food service premises with 20 or more locations in Ontario;
    • Requiring food service operators to post contextual information that would help to educate patrons about their daily caloric requirements;
    • Authorizing public health inspectors to enforce menu labelling requirements.

    Click here for the Ministry's news release.

  • On November 7th 2014, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announced the adoption of regulations to ban smoking on patios, playgrounds and sports fields as of January 1, 2015. Sales of tobacco products will also be banned on all post-secondary education campuses.

  • Ontario Medical Association news release: Ontario's Doctors Call on Government to Bring Back Flavoured-tobacco Legislation Including a Ban on Menthol Cigarettes. 15 October 2014.

  • OCAT news release: Widespread Use of Flavoured Tobacco Products Continues Among Ontario Youth: Health Agencies Urge Speedy Reintroduction of Youth Smoking Prevention Act, 10 September 2014.

  • OCAT's interim position statement on e-cigarettes, May 2014.

  • OCAT news release: Health Coalition Welcomes First Ontario Tobacco Tax Increase Since 2006, 1 May 2014.

  • OCAT summary document on hookahs/shisha, February 2014.

  • OCAT news release: "Health Coalition to MPPs: Make National Non-Smoking Week Meaningful, Commit to Passing the Youth Smoking Prevention Act (Bill 131)", 22 January 2014.

  • On November 18, 2013, Minister Deb Matthews introduced Bill 131, The Youth Smoking Prevention Act. If passed, the Act will:
    • Prohibit smoking on playgrounds, sport fields, and restaurant and bar patios.
    • Double fines for those who sell tobacco to youth, making Ontario's penalties the highest in Canada.
    • Ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products targeted at kids to make smoking less appealing to young people.
    • Strengthen enforcement to allow for testing of tobacco in waterpipes in indoor public places.
    • Prohibit tobacco sales on post-secondary education campuses and specified provincial government properties.

  • New data shows over 57,000 Ontario youth using flavoured tobacco products. Health agencies call for ban on all tobacco flavours. The data was released in a report from Propel Centre for Population Health Impact includes data from Canada's 2010/11 Youth Smoking Survey (YSS).

  • New searchable smoke-free bylaw database now available. The Non-Smokers’ Rights Association/Smoking and Health Action Foundation has developed a searchable database of smoke-free laws across Canada, with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health. The new database contains bylaws and laws that exceed one or more provisions of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

  • The City of Ottawa approved (21-2) bylaw amendments to ban smoking on patios, all municipal properties, including parks, playgrounds, beaches, sports fields, fruit and vegetable markets and outdoor areas around City facilities.  The bylaw comes into force April 2, 2012 an awareness and enforcement phase, with active enforcement to begin July 2, 2012. Additional information on the bylaw can be found in the following documents:

  • The Stanford University School of Medicine has compiled a collection of historical tobacco industry advertisements dated from the 1920s. The collection is part of an exhibit by the Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising.

  • The federal government enacts tough new warning messages for tobacco products. The new regulations will increase warning sizes from 50% to 75% and include health information and improved toxic emission messages. As of March 21, 2012, all cigarettes manufactured or imported must have the new warnings. Retailers have until June 18, 2012 to sell their old inventory before being required to only sell cigarettes with new warnings. Click here for more information from Health Canada on the new package warnings.

  • Bill 186, an Act to Amend the Tobacco Tax Act, received Royal Assent on June 1, 2011. The new legislation addresses the contraband tobacco problem by providing:
    • stronger controls over all types of raw leaf tobacco grown in or imported into Ontario;
    • new fine levels for possessing illegal cigarettes;
    • authority for police officers to seize illegal, unmarked tobacco; and
    • a marking scheme for fine-cut tobacco, similar to that used on cigarette packaging

  • The Tobacco Strategy Advisory Board has released its report "Building On Our Gains, Taking Action Now: Ontario's Tobacco Control Strategy for 2011-2016". To view the release, click here.

  • "The New Big Tobacco: Inside Canada’s underground tobacco industry, a five-part series", The National Post, September 2010.

  • Contraband Smokes - Kids can get them anywhere. April 8, 2010 OCAT news release.

  • Bill C-32 receives Royal Assent. Implementation dates for the bill are as follows:
    • all tobacco advertising in newspapers and magazines are banned, effective immediately
    • On April 6, 2010, all flavoured cigarettes, cigarillos and blunt wraps will be banned at the manufacturer/import level
    • On July 5, 2010, all flavoured cigarettes, cigarillos and blunt wraps will be banned at retail.

  • OCAT calls for provincial anti-contraband tobacco strategy, 23 September 2009 news release.

  • The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit released their latest  Monitoring Report which suggests that the majority of smokers who want to quit are being failed by gaps in the current smoke-free strategy.  Click here to view OCAT's news release in response to the Report.

  • Health Canada advises Canadians not to use electronic cigarettes.  These devices do not meet requirements under the federal Food and Drug Act and have not been fully evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy.


Smoke-free Multi-Unit Dwellings

  • The Smoking and Health Action Foundation (SHAF) has launched a new website to deal with the issue of second-hand smoke exposure in multi-unit dwellings (MUDs). The website, Smoke-Free Housing Ontario, is geared to a wide audience including tenants, landlords, condominium corporations, housing co-operatives and public health intermediaries, and includes:
    • Information on second-hand smoke;
    • Synopses of laws that have a bearing on the issue;
    • A legal opinion on the adoption of no-smoking policies;
    • Case law summaries from the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board, along with links to the actual cases;
    • How-To Guides for landlords, condominiums and housing co-ops with step-by-step instructions for adopting no-smoking policies;
    • Tools such as sample no-smoking policies, letters and a survey;
    • Success stories; and
    • A collection of materials and resources created by public health units and volunteer tobacco-free councils.

  • The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit has released its latest OTRU Update (March 2009) which shows that almost 1 in 5 Ontarians reported noticing second hand smoke entering their homes from an external source. Ontarians living in multi-unit dwellings were more than twice as likely as those living in single family homes to notice smoke entering their unit.

  • The Non-Smokers' Rights Association has produced several documents on drifting second-hand smoke in multi-unit dwellings, including a recent review of second-hand smoke decisions by adjudicators of landlord and tenant boards.

  • The Canadian Smoke-free Housing Coalition has just launched its new website: Smoke-Free Housing Canada. The national website is dedicated to educating landlords, tenants and condominium owners on the issue of second-hand smoke in multi-unit dwellings.

Smoke-free Vehicles Carrying Children

  • Currently, 10 of 13 provinces/territories have passed legislation banning smoking in vehicles carrying children:

    • British Columbia amended its Motor Vehicle Act (Section 231.1) to prohibit smoking in vehicles carrying children under the age of 16. The law came into effect on April 7, 2009.
    • Section 186.1 of Manitoba's Highway Traffic Amendment Act prohibits smoking in vehicles with children under the age of 16 present. The Act also prohibits smoking in vehicles by children younger than 16. The Act received Royal Assent on June 11, 2009 and the implementation date has yet to be set.
    • Amendments to New Brunswick’s Smoke-Free Places Act were passed on May 1, 2009. The legislation will ban smoking in all motor vehicles carrying children as of January 1, 2010.
    • Newfoundland and Labrador amended its Smoke-free Environment Act to prohibit smoking in private vehicles carrying children under the age of 16.
    • Nova Scotia was the first province to pass legislation (Smoke-free Places Act) prohibiting smoking in vehicles carrying children (under the age of 19). The legislation has been in effect since April 1, 2008.
    • The Ontario government’s amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which makes all vehicles carrying children under the age of 16 smoke-free, was adopted on June 16, 2008 and came into force on January 21, 2009.
    • In addition to making vehicles carrying children under the age of 19 smoke-free, PEI amended its Smoke-Free Places Act to include 100% smoke-free workplaces and public places. The Act was passed on May 15, 2009 and is awaiting proclamation.
    • In 2010, Saskatchewan amended its Tobacco Control Act to prohibit smoking in vehicles with children under the age of 16.
    • Yukon Territory’s Smoke-free Places Act includes provisions which make all workplaces and public places 100% smoke-free (including patios), bans smoking on school grounds, within a certain distance from entryways, and in vehicles with children under the age of 18 present. The bill came into force on May 15, 2008.

  • An August 2009 study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health show nicotine levels are "strikingly higher" in smokers' cars than in non-smokers' vehicles. The study tested air nicotine concentrations in smokers' vehicles and found they were twice as strong as levels measured by other studies in public and-or private places and up to 50 per cent higher than measurements taken in restaurants and bars that permit smoking.

  • Evidence shows vehicles most dangerous place for second-hand smoke levels. In a February 2008 news release, the Ontario Medical Association cited evidence which shows that the concentration of second-hand smoke particles in a car can be up to 60 times higher than concentrations indoors. Click here to view the OMA's press release and related backgrounder.

  • Majority of Canadians support banning smoking in cars with children present. A poll commissioned by the Canadian Cancer Society shows 82 per cent of Canadians agreed that smoking should be prohibited in cars transporting children and teenagers under the age of 18. Among smokers who responded to the telephone survey, 69 per cent supported the idea. Click here to view the Canadian Cancer Society's news release.


  • The Canadian Cancer Society has created a website that allows Canadians an opportunity to send an email to their MP urging action on contraband tobacco. The website is available in both English and French.

  • The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists have published their latest investigation on contraband cigarettes.  The story, "Canada's Boom in Smuggled Cigarettes", documents the cross-border problem between Canada and the U.S.

  • The Canadian Coalition for Action on Tobacco calls on the federal government for action on cigarette smuggling. Click here to view the February 4, 2008 news release.

  • The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit has released a special report entitled Contraband cigarettes in Ontario. The report finds 37% of Ontario smokers purchase cigarettes on reserve, with 26% saying they have done so in the past six months (data: January/05 – June/06).

  • The Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council (CTMC) has released a study concluding that contraband in Canada is increasing compared to a similar 2006 study. The study claims that:

    • 22% of cigarettes smoked in Canada are illegal, compared to 16.5% in 2006.
    • Governments are losing about $1.6 billion per year in tax revenues, including $449 million in Ontario.

    It was also noted that the primary sources of contraband are First Nation reserves in the St. Lawrence basin.

    Click here for the CTMC's August 1, 2007 news release. Responses to the CTMC's study were also released by Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada and Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac.

  • The Canadian Coalition for Action on Tobacco's April 2007 news release and related brochure.


  • Quebec's Bill 43, Tobacco-related Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act received Royal Assent on June 19, 2009.

  • The Ontario government's Bill 155, Tobacco Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, 2009  received third reading and Royal Assent on May 14, 2009. The legislation will enable the province to recover the health care costs associated with the burden caused by tobacco-related illness by:

    • Allowing Ontario to directly sue tobacco companies for alleged wrongdoing
    • Allowing for the recovery of past, present and ongoing tobacco-related damages
    • Creating a method to determine health care cost damages incurred by taxpayers arising from tobacco-related illnesses 
    • Establishing the burden of proof required to link exposure to tobacco products to Tobacco-related disease
    • Allocating liability among tobacco companies by market share.

    British Columbia and New Brunswick have already passed legislation and initiated lawsuits against tobacco companies to recover health care costs.  Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have also passed health care cost recovery legislation.

  • Alberta becomes the eighth province to bring forward legislation to facilitate a medicare cost recovery lawsuit against the tobacco industry. On May 11, 2009, Alberta Health and Wellness Minister Ron Liepert today introduced Bill 48, the Crown's Right of Recovery Act.

  • Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq introduced Bill C-32, amendments to the Tobacco Act, that would ban the flavouring of cigarillos, cigarettes and blunt wraps and require unflavoured cigarillos and blunt wraps to be packaged like cigarettes in minimum quantities of 20. The proposed legislation would also repeal the exception in the current Tobacco Act that allows tobacco ads to be placed in a print publication that has an adult readership of not less than 85%. Bill C-32 was passed by the House of Commons and is currently before the Senate.

  • The Ontario government passed Bill 124 which amends the Smoke-free Ontario Act to include the banning of flavourings in cigarillos and to require them to be sold in packages of no less than 20. The Bill received Royal Assent on December 10, 2008 and is awaiting proclamation.

  • New Brunswick to ban flavourings in cigarillos and other tobacco products  The Tobacco Sales Act will be amended to prohibit the sale of flavoured cigarillos and other tobacco products and also restrict the sale of cigarillos to packages no fewer than 20. 

  • OCAT cigarillo backgrounder, September 2008

  • Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada. Cigarillo Smoking in Canada: A review of results from CTUMS, Wave 1 - 2007, February 2008.



  • A recent OTRU study (April 2009) by an Expert Panel on Tobacco Smoke and Breast Cancer Risk concludes that there is now enough scientific evidence to link both active smoking and secondhand smoke to breast cancer

  • A Colorado study shows a decline in heart attacks after the implementation of a smoking ban". The study shows that in the 18 months after the ban came into effect in Pueblo, Colorado, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped 27%. The study was published in the journal Circulation.

  • A new global study led by two Canadian researchers has shown evidence that all tobacco exposure, including second-hand smoke, can lead to an increased risk of heart attack. The study, was published in the August 19, 2006 issue of The Lancet

  • In July 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report entitled, "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General". The report says that the only way to protect nonsmokers from the dangerous chemicals in second-hand smoke is to eliminate smoking indoors.

  • The California Air Resources Board unanimously adopted a regulatory amendment (Jan 2006) identifying secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant (TAC). The California Environmental Protection Agency will now prepare a risk reduction report on potential actions to further reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. The report is divided into two parts:

    • Part A contains the first ever outdoor monitoring of secondhand smoke exposure near designated smoking areas in California.
    • Part B includes: a causal link between secondhand smoke exposure and preterm delivery; asthma induction in adults; breast cancer in younger, premenopausal women; and altered vascular properties.

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