May 15, 2006
Media Release

Take a deep breath

Covered patios will soon be smoke-free
NEWMARKET –Effective May 31, 2006, York Region residents can enjoy smoke-free environments in covered outdoor patios, thanks to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA).  The SFOA is the first smoke-free provincial legislation which addresses the issue of outdoor patios in restaurants and bars.  This legislation is based on protecting non-smokers from the toxins of second-hand smoke. 
Second-hand smoke is a mixture of the smoke exhaled from a smoker and the fumes that are expelled from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe.  It contains higher concentrations of the same 4000 toxic chemicals found in first-hand smoke and causes the same smoking-related illnesses including cancers, heart and respiratory diseases. Approximately 80 per cent of Canadians have made the decision to be
non-smokers but yet each year approximately 4,700 Canadians die from second-hand smoke related diseases.
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act serves to protect Ontarians by prohibiting smoking in all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places, including but not limited to restaurants, bars, bingo halls, work vehicles, sports arenas and entertainment venues.  This Act will also prohibit smoking on patios that have a full or partial roof and are associated with premises which serve food or drink.   Awnings, canopies, tarps, as well as wooden structures that impede rain and air flow are considered to be a roof.  Stand alone, single table umbrellas are not considered a roof. 
Hospitality owners will be required to raise awareness of the smoking restriction with both patrons and employees.  They can do this by posting required signage, removing all ashtrays and smoking equipment and ensuring that smoking does not take place in their establishment.  York Region Health Services will be educating the local proprietors, performing routine inspections and investigating all complaints to enforce the law.  Contravention of this section of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act could result in a maximum fine of $5000 for an individual. No maximum fine applies in the case of corporations. They will be individually assessed by a judge.
Other components of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act include:
• Eliminating the use of designated smoking rooms in restaurants, bars and bingo halls
• Toughening the rules preventing sales to minors
• Immediately restricting the retail promotion of tobacco products and imposing a complete ban on the display of tobacco products by May 31, 2008
• Ensuring licensed private home daycare is smoke-free, as is all public daycare
• Preventing the promotion of tobacco products in entertainment venues
• Protecting home health-care workers from second-hand smoke when offering services in private residences
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For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and our services, please visit
Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Health Educator-Media, York Region Health Services
 Phone:  (905) 830-4444, ext. 4016 or after-hours pager (905) 830-3305

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