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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Smoke-Free Outdoor Spaces

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA, 2017) is a comprehensive piece of legislation in the province of Ontario, Canada, aimed at reducing the harms associated with tobacco use and promoting a smoke-free environment. The act regulates various aspects of tobacco and electronic cigarette products, including sales, marketing, and usage in public spaces. It prohibits smoking in enclosed public places, enclosed workplaces, and other specified areas to protect individuals from exposure to secondhand smoke. The legislation also addresses issues related to the display and promotion of tobacco products.


Where is smoking prohibited?

  • On or within 9 meters of a Bar and or Restaurant Patio.
  • On or within 20 meters of a school within the meaning of the Education Act.
  • On or within 9 meters of a food concession stand.
  • On or within 20 meters of playgrounds and sporting areas (e.g. sports fields, sport surfaces and spectator areas).
  • On or within 9 meters of the reserved seating area of a sports arena or entertainment venue.
  • On or within 20 meters of any indoor common area in multi-unit dwelling (MUD), including, without being limited to, elevators, hallways, parking garages, party or entertainment rooms, laundry facilities, lobbies, and exercise areas.

Smoke-Free Outdoor Spaces

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Municipalities may implement additional outdoor restrictions to provide positive role modeling for children and youth, support those who are attempting to quit, and to further protect from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke exposure outdoors.


  • You cannot smoke or vape on children’s playgrounds or public areas within 20 meters of children’s playgrounds.

Bars and Restaurant Patios

  • You cannot smoke or vape in a bar, restaurant or other place of entertainment such as a bowling alley, theatre, casino, racetrack, concert hall or adult entertainment establishment.
  • You cannot smoke or vape in any part of a bar or restaurant outdoor patio.
  • You cannot smoke or vape in the reserved seating area of a sports arena or entertainment venue.
  • You cannot promote tobacco or vapour products (in general or specific brands) in a place of entertainment.

What is considered a “patio”

An outdoor area that meets all the following criteria is considered a patio under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

  • The public has access to it, or employees use the area.
  • Food or drink is served or sold or offered for consumption in the area or the area is operated in conjunction with an area where food or drink is served, sold or offered.
  • The area is not a private home.

Sporting Areas

A sporting area must be smoke and vape-free if it meets all of the following criteria.

  • It is an outdoor public area
  • It is owned by the city, province or a post-secondary institution (e.g. the grounds of a community recreational facility)
  • It is used for sporting activities (excluding golf)
  • If the area meets all criteria, then smoking and vaping is prohibited

You also cannot smoke or vape in publicly owned sporting areas, their fan/viewing areas, and public areas within 20 meters of these places.

  • “Publicly owned” means that the sporting area is owned by a municipality, the province or a post-secondary education institution. Golf courses are excluded from this restriction.

Additional Outdoor Smoking and Vaping Restrictions

Want to know more about Bylaws specific to your location?

Visit the Ontario Tobacco, Vaping, and Cannabis By-Law Summary – 2023.

Date of creation: January 8, 2013
Last modified on: November 27, 2023


1Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care. 2018. Where you can't smoke or vape in Ontario. Retrieved from