Smoke-Free Ontario: Recent Legislation and Findings

Smoke-Free Ontario Act

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act is provincial tobacco control legislation. It went into effect on May 31, 2006.

This legislation created a uniform smoke-free environment across the province, protecting people from second-hand smoke (SHS) and restricting access to tobacco products for children and youth.

Smoking is now prohibited on patios, sports fields and playgrounds.

Changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act help reduce exposure to smoking and make the purchase of tobacco more difficult for Ontario’s youth. As of January 1, 2015, it is now illegal to:

  • smoke on bar and restaurant patios:
  • smoke within 20 metres of playgrounds and public sports fields and surfaces; and
  • sell tobacco on university and college campuses.

Smoking in motor vehicles

Smoking in a vehicle with children under the age of 16 is prohibited in Ontario. As of January 21, 2009, anyone caught smoking in a motorized vehicle with a child under the age of 16 inside will be fined.

This law applies to all motor vehicles. It doesn’t matter if the vehicle is moving or parked; if the windows are rolled up or down or if there’s sunroof, rooftop or anything else that could be considered "open."

Making your car 100 per cent smoke-free is the only way to reduce the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

For more information on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion website.

For more local information you can also visit

Peel youth start smoking early

The Region of Peel’s 2011 Student Health Survey interviewed over 8,500 students in grades 7 to 12 from both Peel District School Board and Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board schools. Students answered questions related to eating habits, physical activity, bullying, and substance use.

This survey revealed that Peel youth who smoke started early. Forty one per cent of Peel students who ever smoked a cigarette reported having their first cigarette before starting high school. By Grade 12, the number of students smoking daily increased to six per cent from one per cent in Grade 9.

Revised: Monday May 16 2016

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