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Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Retailers

We teach about and enforce the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. The Act affects tobacco retailers in various ways, including the following:

  • No selling, buying or giving tobacco to a person under age 19
  • Health warning signs must be posted at retail

Public Health checks that people and places follow the Acts. Our tobacco enforcement officers visit each tobacco and e-cigarette retailer throughout the year. We also send in youth test shoppers for these inspections. 

We work closely with our partners to deal with illegal forms of tobacco (contraband).

Changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act

On January 1, 2016, changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act came into effect. These changes are important to tobacco retailers, as they:

  • Double the maximum fine for selling tobacco products to minors
  • Ban most flavoured tobacco products
  • Expand the seizure authority of inspectors
  • Make it illegal to offer promotional items with the sale of tobacco products

Exemptions to the flavoured tobacco ban

Temporary and permanent exceptions to the flavored tobacco ban include:

  • Flavoured pipe tobacco and cigars with wine, port, whiskey or rum flavouring (permanently exempt)
  • Menthol-flavoured tobacco products (such as cigarettes and cigarillos) and clove flavored cigarettes (exempt until January 1, 2017)

Electronic Cigarettes Act

As of January 1, 2016, it is illegal to:

  • Sell or supply e-cigarettes or their parts to anyone under 19
  • Sell e-cigarettes using publicly accessible vending machines. A vending machine maybe used for display purposes, so long as people are not able to purchase e-cigarettes directly from the machine.

Vendors are:

Example of sign for vendors - "It is illegal to sell or supply e-cigarettes to anyone under 19 years of age"Sign for vendors - "Government ID with a photo and birth date must be shown when requested."

© Queen's Printer for Ontario

More information about the required signs.

Additional Resources

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