Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco (OCAT) was founded
by five leading health agencies in 1992
to secure the passage of Ontario's Tobacco Control Act (TCA)
The founding agencies include:
The TCA's passage in 1994 made tobacco sales and supply to minors illegal, eliminated the sale of tobacco in pharmacies and vending machines, and made certain public places smoke-free. Following this, the OCAT worked towards the passage of smoke-free workplace and public place by-laws throughout Ontario. As the levels of second-hand smoke protection varied in Ontario municipalities, OCAT advocated for the passage of provincial second-hand smoke protection legislation.
In May 2005, the Ontario government passed the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA). In addition to making all indoor workplaces and public places smoke-free as of May 31, 2006, the SFOA also included regulations for a ban on retail tobacco displays (effective May 31, 2008). Additional amendments to the SFOA have eliminated smoking in cars transporting children under the age of 16 and will eliminate the sale of all flavoured tobacco products (January 1, 2016) including menthol (January 1, 2017).
Regulations under the Act were implemented which prohibits smoking in certain outdoor public places such as hospitality patios, playgrounds, sporting fields and hospital grounds (January 1, 2018), as well as the sale of tobacco products on post-secondary education campuses and some provincial government properties.
On May 31, 2015, the Making Healthier Choices Act (MHCA) was passed. As part of this Act, the SFOA was amended to ban the sale of all flavoured tobacco products, including menthol by January 1, 2016 (menthol ban implemented January 1, 2017). The MHCA also included the creation and passage of the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015 (ECA), which banned the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19 as of January 1, 2016.
On December 12, 2017, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 was passed. The Act combined the then Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015.
As part of Bill 36, the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act 2017 was amended to include the prohibition of vaping and cannabis use anywhere smoking is not allowed. Under the Act's regulations, smoke-free/vape-free zones were expanded to include a 9 metre perimeter around outdoor patios, and a 20 metre perimeter around school properties and community centre grounds. The regulations also allow specialty vaping stores to display and promote vaping products within the store and restricts testing of vaping products to 2 persons at one time. In other retail settings, visible displays of actual vaping products are banned, but unlimited promotions of such products are permitted.
The Ontario Campaign's current objectives target expansion of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy to include further control of contraband tobacco products, tobacco tax increases, direct regulation of the tobacco industry and its retail partners, and protection from second-hand smoke in multi-unit dwellings.
Please visit our What's New page for continual updates and recent information regarding any issues related to the OCAT's objectives.
The OCAT office is located in the offices of the Ontario Medical Association at:
150 Bloor Street West