Changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act are on the way.
The new piece of legislature will regulate the sale, supply, use, display and promotion of both tobacco and vapour products while also regulating the smoking and vaping of medical cannabis.
Furthermore, the comprehensive Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 will replace the previous Smoke-Free Ontario Act as well as the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015.
OCSA has worked extensively with the Ministry staff to protect our business interests throughout this process and we’re happy to say that the government has accepted just about all of our recommendations.
The following summary outlines the proposed regulation that would be made under the SFOA, 2017. The proposed regulation responds to the changing landscape related to tobacco, vapour products and medical cannabis.
- Since the enactment of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act in 2006, the prevalence of tobacco smoking has significantly decreased – from 20.9% in 2005 to 16.7% in 2016 (CCHS, 2017). However, in recent years, the rate of tobacco smoking has plateaued. Approximately two million Ontarians still smoke tobacco cigarettes. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Ontario.
- E-cigarettes are a relatively new and quickly evolving technology. The evidence concerning their potential health effects and implications for tobacco control efforts is in its early stages.
- The federal government has proposed to legalize recreational cannabis in July 2018 and has indicated that medical cannabis will continue as a separate system post-legalization. Evidence about the use, forms, and effectiveness of medical cannabis is still evolving. Smoking is the most common way of consuming medical cannabis.
Some key highlights of the new Smoke Free Act:
- Convenience stores must put all vape products behind the flaps similar to tobacco products
- Convenience stores will not get an additional in-store sign beyond the three the SFOA allows (to notify that vaping products are available) under the new proposed regulations. All retailers must adhere to the three (3 ) sign limit already in place
- Vape shops will need to register with local public health units as vape specialty shops
- Vape specialty shops will be 19+ to enter
- Sampling or trial of vaping products would be prohibited under SFOA regulations
- Vape shops will be restricted such that 85% of all products must be vaping products and the remaining 15% must be vape related products (no food, no lottery)
- Vape specialty shops will not be able to sell tobacco
- Tobacconists will now have to abide by these new 85/15 rules (currently it’s 50/50)
- Tobacconists will not be allowed to sell vapour products, except for heat-not-burn tobacco products
It is anticipated that these changes will become law in the next 45 days.
To see the full bill, which is not yet in effect, access it on the Ontario government’s website by clicking here.