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Smoking and Vaping

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Retail Sales Under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017

Inspection and enforcement for retailers selling tobacco and vapour products (vapes)

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

Among their duties related to retail sales of tobacco and vapour products, tobacco enforcement officers:

  • educate retail vendors (including convenience stores, gas stations, specialty vape stores, and tobacconists) 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 vapour products;
  • ensure the proper signage, including requiring identification to buy tobacco and vapour products, is clearly displayed and marketing materials promoting tobacco and vapour product brands are not visible to the public;
  • work with youth test shoppers to ensure retailers are not selling tobacco and vapour products to anyone under 19 years of age; and
  • 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, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Prospective buyers of tobacco business 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 may be 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, 2017

Retail outlets and business owners must ensure their staff are educated on the laws for selling tobacco and vapour 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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