New Ontario law targets e-cigarettes

Dipika Damerla, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Photo:
Dipika Damerla, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Photo:

Ontario is introducing legislation today to protect youth from the dangers of tobacco and the potential harms of electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes. Also included in the legislation are measures to help families make healthier food choices by giving them caloric information when eating out or purchasing take-away meals.

Today’s introduction of the Making Healthier Choices Act, 2014 proposes legislation that will:

  • Ban the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19.
  • Prohibit the use of e-cigarettes in certain places where the smoking of tobacco is prohibited.
  • Ban the sale of e-cigarettes in certain places where the sale of tobacco is prohibited.
  • Prohibit the display and promotion of e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes or tobacco products are sold, or offered for sale.
  • Ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products, with a delayed implementation date for menthol-flavoured tobacco products.
  • Increase maximum fines for those who sell tobacco to youth, making Ontario’s maximum fines the highest in Canada.
  • Strengthen enforcement to allow for testing of substances used in water pipes (e.g. hookahs, shisha) in indoor public places.

Dipika Damerla, the Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, said about the new legislation, “The health impacts related to smoking and obesity are serious issues affecting our children and youth, as well as the sustainability of our health care system. That’s why we have introduced legislation that, if passed, would help Ontarians to make well-informed choices of what they eat and feed their children, to protect youth from tobacco products and e-cigarettes, and to further limit exposure to second-hand smoke in public areas. Today, we are investing in our future by continuing to promote healthy habits and behaviours as we encourage all Ontarians to eat well and lead smoke-free lives.”

Ontario also intends to amend Ontario Regulation 48/06 made under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to further restrict smoking on outdoor grounds of hospitals and to prohibit smoking on specified provincial government properties.

The proposed bill, if passed would also:

  • Require calories for standard food and beverage items, including alcohol, to be posted on menus and menu boards in restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores and other food service premises with 20 or more locations in Ontario;
  • Require food service operators to post contextual information that would help to educate patrons about their daily caloric requirements;
  • Authorize public health inspectors to enforce menu labelling requirements.
Approximately 95 per cent of Ontarians support requiring fast food restaurants to list nutrition information on their menus (Ipsos Reid, 2011).
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