On March 31, 2020 new laws will come into force to regulate and restrict access to tobacco products, vapour products and accessories.
What it is
- The Smoking Control and Reduction Act is a law that protects the public, particularly children and youth, from a variety of second-hand smoke exposure and vaping aerosol.
- It bans smoking in public places as well as in motor vehicles where another person who is under 19 years of age is present.
- It sets out requirements to post evidence-based warning signs in retail stores informing people about the risks and harms linked to smoking.
- The Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act controls the sale, display and advertising of tobacco products, cannabis accessories, and vapour products and accessories.
It sets out requirements that retailers must comply with when selling tobacco and vapour products, and includes a ban on displaying any of these products or accessories where children and youth have access.
- It also increases the legal age for purchasing tobacco and vapour products to 19 years.
Who it’s for
- Everyone exposed to second-hand smoke is put at risk of the same serious health problems as people who smoke.
- These laws aim to protect non-smokers, particularly children and youth from second-hand smoke exposure and vaping aerosol.
Why we need it
- The NWT has one of the highest smoking rates in Canada, and with the growing presence of vaping products, the Smoking Control and Reduction Act serves to protect children and youth from being tempted to use them.
- 2018 statistics show that 29% of NWT residents age 15 to 24 smoke either occasionally or daily. The Smoking Control and Reduction Act supports public health awareness initiatives on the health risks of using tobacco and vaping products.
Where smoking is banned
Smoking is banned in motor vehicles where another person who is under 19 years of age is present.
It is also banned in any place that the public has access to by right or invitation, including places where children and youth under 19 years of age ordinarily gather.
This includes, but is not limited to:
- Outdoor children’s playground
- Outdoor field, court or rink used for sports or other athletic activities
Where smoking is not banned
Smoking and vaping are allowed in areas that are not considered to be public places.
Note: If you are renting an apartment or home, talk to your landlord to see if you are allowed to smoke or vape there.
Penalties for smoking in public places
Individuals that break the law will be ticketed and fined. Smoking in a public place or in a motor vehicle where children or youth under 19 years of age are present will receive the following fines:
- $500 for a first offence
- Up to $1,000 for additional offences.
- Tobacco use as part of traditional Indigenous spiritual or cultural practices or ceremonies are allowed in public places if consent by the manager of the public place is given.
- Smoking is permitted in family home daycare facilities only when the daycare is closed.
The operator of the facility must notify parents if smoking is permitted in the facility outside of day care hours.
Health and Social Services Environmental Health
Under the Smoking Control and Reduction Act, Environmental Health Officers conduct inspections of tobacco and cannabis retailers for compliance with the legislation. They also enforce many of the rules where smoking is banned, such as in playgrounds, recreational areas, and other public places. These rules and inspections protect the health of NWT residents and helps retailers stay within the law.
For questions about smoking in public places or health signage requirements, contact the Environmental Health Unit by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 867-767-9066 ext. 49262. Collect calls are accepted.
RCMP are responsible for enforcing the smoking ban in motor vehicles where children or youth under 19 years of age are present.
Municipal and community governments may create laws that further restrict smoking in public places. Know where you can smoke in your community. Contact your local municipal by-law or community government office.
For questions about smoking in NWT parks, call an NWT Parks officer in your region or visit www.nwtparks.ca.
Beaufort Delta: 867-777-7353
Dehcho Region: 867-695-7515
South Slave Region: 867-875-5565
Sahtu Region: 867-587-7165
North Slave Region: 867-445-5931
For questions about smoking in your rented apartment or home, talk to your landlord.
Related Services / Information
- Bill 40: Smoking Control and Reduction Act - FAQs
- Bill 41: Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act FAQs
- Cannabis Legalization in the Northwest Territories - Report on What We Heard
- Tobacco Health Warnings
- Tobacco Control in the Northwest Territories
- Tobacco Control in the Northwest Territories Discussion Paper (FAQs)