Health Unit Enforcement Blitz Aims To Reduce Youth Access To Illegal Tobacco, Vapour Products

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is launching an eight-week Tobacco and Vapour Product Retailer education and enforcement campaign next week. This blitz is happening in collaboration with public health units across central eastern Ontario to ensure compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA).

In Ontario, public health tobacco enforcement officers are given authority by the province to enforce the SFOA and ensure that local businesses, public places, schools and workplaces are following the law. This includes inspecting premises to ensure that tobacco and vapour product retailers are following advertising regulations, proper signage is posted, and youth are not able to purchase tobacco or vapour products.

“Non-compliance with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act among some tobacco and vapour product retailers is an ongoing concern,” says Tony Makrostergios, manager of enforcement with SMDHU. “In the second half of 2022, our enforcement officers were involved with 250 investigations related to the illegal sale of tobacco and vapor products by retailers in Simcoe Muskoka and an additional 90 investigations in response to the illegal use of vapour products by youth at area secondary schools during the fall school term. Our goal is to protect youth and achieve retailer compliance by eliminating the sale of vapour and commercial tobacco products to youth, including the sale of illegal products and flavoured vape e-juices at locations in Simcoe Muskoka.”

As part of the Tobacco and Vapour Product Retailer campaign, SMDHU tobacco enforcement officers are conducting compliance inspections at tobacco and vapour product retailers to ensure SFOA requirements are being met, including but not limited to:

  • Staff are trained on the legal age for sale of vapour and tobacco products.
  • Retailers are not selling illegally flavoured or improperly packaged products.
  • Retailers are compliant with indoor and outdoor advertising restrictions.

If during an inspection a retailer is found to be non-compliant the health unit may proceed with enforcement measures. For more information or to file a complaint related to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act please contact Health Connection weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 to speak with a tobacco enforcement officer.


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