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Retail Sales Under the SFOA

Inspection and enforcement for retailers selling tobacco and electronic cigarettes

The health unit's tobacco enforcement officers (TEO) are designated as provincial offences officers with the authority to enforce the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017.

Among their duties related to retail sales of tobacco and e-cigarettes, tobacco enforcement officers:

  • educate retail vendors to ensure they are made aware of the laws and the expectations on any business or employee selling these products
  • inspect retailers for compliance with the display and sales requirements for tobacco and e-cigarettes
  • ensure the proper signage, including requiring identification to buy tobacco industry products and electronic cigarettes, is clearly displayed and marketing materials promoting tobacco brands are not visible to the public
  • work with youth test shoppers to ensure retailers are not selling tobacco industry products, including e-cigarettes to anyone under 19 years of age.
  • lay charges where necessary and follow through with related court process

TEOs also respond to complaints and requests from the public and retail vendors to ensure compliance with the SFOA. To lodge a complaint or request assistance, you can call Health Connection weekdays from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Thinking about buying a tobacco retail premises?
Prospective buyers of tobacco premises are strongly encouraged to contact the local public health unit to confirm premises history. A premises with two or more convictions against the owner at that address is subject to a Notice of Prohibition Against the Sale, Storage and Delivery of Tobacco Products (known as an automatic prohibition or AP).

Convictions under the SFOA

Retail outlets and business owners must ensure their staff are educated on the laws for selling tobacco and e-cigarette products. Websites that can help explain the law and responsibilities can be found below.

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If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

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