Cold Weather Doesn't Change Smoking Laws

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With the colder weather upon us, it is a good time to remind everyone about the Smoke Free Ontario Act. The Smoke Free Ontario act states that smoking or vaping any substance in enclosed workplaces is illegal and can result in heavy fines for non-compliance.

WOODSTOCK - Southwestern Public Health is reminding everyone about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. 

Tobacco Enforcement Officer Kristina McCarthy explains why they wanted to put this message out now. 

"With the cooler weather coming on, we are starting to see a rise in the amount of complaints that we get about smoking in workplaces. 

The Smoke Free Ontario act states that smoking or vaping any substance in enclosed workplaces is illegal and can result in heavy fines for non-compliance. McCarthy explains why these laws are in place.

"The Smoke Free Ontario Act was established to protect workers and the public and protem them from second hand smoke exposure." 

Employees and employers should note that it is illegal to reprimand employees who issue complaints about smoking in the workplace. 

Southwestern Public Health has also issued the following statistics about smoking and the impact it can have on everyone: 

- Smoking costs employers more than $4,000 per year in lost productivity, absenteeism and smoking breaks.
- Tobacco use kills more than 45,000 Canadians annually.
- In Ontario, more than $2B is spent annually to treat and care for people with smoking-related health concerns.
- 2 million Ontarians smoke, with some groups – including rural and those of low-socio-economic status – having higher smoking rates than the provincial average.
- Approximately 18.0%% of Ontarians report they are current smokers.
- Many regions in Southwestern Ontario have higher rates of smoking than the provincial average, including the Southwestern Public Health area at 23.0%.

You can find more information on the Smoke Free Ontario Act and resources available to help you quit smoking online here. 

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