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Tobacco

Quitting smoking

Services in Ottawa to help people quit smoking

Quitting smoking is a process that takes practice. It is not a matter of willpower; it is a matter of finding what works for you and putting those tools to work to reach your goal of becoming smoke-free. Numerous services, programs and agencies in Ottawa provide assistance when you are ready to quit smoking.

For information on all quit smoking programs, call MyQuit at 1-877-376-1701. You can also connect with Ottawa Public Health on our BlogFacebook and Twitter for the latest public health information.

2-hour Quit Smoking Workshop

Eligible participants attend a 2-hour workshop on quit smoking strategies, nicotine replacement therapy and its correct use. A FREE 5-week kit of nicotine patches will be provided to participants following the workshop.

  • Wednesday, January 18, 2017 (Near St. Joseph Boulevard and Tenth Line Road, Orleans Ward)
    2 pm to 4 pm
  • Tuesday, February 7, 2017 (Near Baseline Road and Fisher Avenue, Knoxdale-Merivale Ward)
    6 pm to 8 pm
  • Tuesday, March 14, 2017 (Near Woodroffe Avenue and Baseline Road, College Ward)
    6 pm to 8 pm
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 (Near Bronson Avenue and Gladstone Avenue, Somerset Ward)
    6 pm to 8 pm

To learn more, see if you qualify and to register, visit MyQuit.ca or call 1-877-376-1701.

Logo for Myquit.ca. Quit smoking your way.The MyQuit program is designed to support anyone interested in quitting smoking or cutting back their tobacco use. The program is free of charge and is delivered by our coaches who are trained in the latest techniques to help you successfully stop smoking.

4-week Quit Smoking Groups

4-week groups can provide you with support to quit. These FREE groups are offered day or evening with sessions in various areas of the city.  Nicotine patches or gum are available for eligible participants.

To learn more or to register, visit MyQuit.ca or call 1-877-376-1701.

  • Near St. Joseph Boulevard and Tenth Line Road (Orleans Ward)
    Start Date:  February 28, 2017
    Tuesdays: 1:15 to 2:45 pm
  • Near Woodroffe Avenue and Baseline Road (College Ward)
    Start Date:  April 4, 2017
    Tuesdays: 1:15 to 2:45 pm

Logo for Myquit.ca. Quit smoking your way.

Community Drop-ins

Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health

Sacred Smoke is a culturally-responsive quit smoking support program for Aboriginal people in the Ottawa region. Activities offered through this program vary by season and may include weekly support groups, Elder support, cultural teachings, one-on-one support, physical activities, crafts, and more!

For more information, visit the Sacred Smoke Drop-In website.

Quit smoking groups at work

Work with Ottawa Public Health to host a FREE 2-hour workshop on location at workplaces where there are 10 or more participants who want support to quit.

Each workshop involves:

  • a 2-hour workshop about quit smoking tools and techniques
  • a brief one-on-one counseling session with a public health Quit Coach
  • 5-weeks of FREE nicotine patches, available for eligible participants

To register, or for more information, please contact the Workplace Health Line:
workplacehealth@ottawa.ca
613-580-6744, ext. 24197

Resources for young adults wanting to quit smoking

Are you a student in Ottawa?

exposé’s iSmoke program has tips to help you quit smoking.

Nicotine patches and quit smoking counseling are also available. Check out what quit smoking services are available on your campus.

Smartphone Apps

Break it Off
  • Free
  • Support and quit tools
  • Track progress + live stats
  • Chat with a quit coach
Crush the Crave
  • Free
  • Offers quit help
  • Tracks progress

QuitRunChill

8-week running program for young adult smokers – www.QuitRunChill.org

Resources for youth wanting to quit smoking

School Health Team

Ottawa Public Health’s School Health Team offers quit smoking support for students in high school through workshops, one-on-one counseling and nicotine patches. Contact 613-580-6744, ext. 28020 to get in contact with the nurse at your school.

Other community programs

Nicotine Anonymous – Dalhousie Community Centre

This 12 Step Program with ongoing self support is offered every Tuesday evening from 8 to 9 pm.

Contact: 613-859-1210

Community Health Centres

Most Community Health Centres (CHCs) in Ottawa provide quit smoking services and support. Nicotine Replacement Therapy is available. Contact your local CHC for more information.

Dr. Lena’s Clinic for Adolescents

Free counseling is available with a referral.
Offered in: English 
Contact: 613-737-7119

Heart Institute Quit Smoking Program

Treatment and support is provided by smoking cessation nurse specialists.

Offered in: English and French
Cost: $10 administration fee
Contact: 613-761-5464

Family Health Teams’ (FHTs) Quit Smoking Programs

Some FHTs in Ottawa are offering quit smoking counselling and free nicotine replacement therapy. Check with your FHT!
Cost: Free

Pharmacists’ Smoking Cessation Program

If you receive your medications through the Ontario Drug Benefits plan, check with your pharmacist to see if they are offering free quit support through this program. You may be eligible for Zyban or Champix under the ODB program.

Contact your Physician

Your physician can offer advice about quitting and can provide you with information about medication that can help.

Online resources

Canadian Cancer Society Smokers’ Helpline

A confidential service available by phone, online and text messaging. Quit coaches provide personalized support, advice, information and a “quit plan” that suits you. Call from anywhere in Ontario, 7 days a week. Interpreter service is available. Access online and text services at SmokersHelpline.ca. Watch the “Connect to quit with Smokers' Helpline” video.

Offered in: English and French
Cost: Free
Contact: 1-877-513-5333

Smoke-free regulations

Hookah (water pipe) smoking banned in all work places and public places starting December 1, 2016

Ottawa City Council has enacted municipal regulations that ban the use of water pipes (also known as hookahs) in the same enclosed workplaces, enclosed public places and outdoor restaurant and bar patios where smoking of tobacco is prohibited. The municipal regulations also ban the use of water pipes in the Parkdale Market and Byward Market stands.

Since 2012, the City of Ottawa has banned the use of water pipes and non-tobacco products on outdoor City of Ottawa property.

Phase-in Period of the New Regulations

These changes will be rolled out over three phases:

  1. An education phase will run throughout the fall and winter to ensure a smooth transition for owners and employees of affected restaurants and bars. The new rules will be promoted through the media, advertising, social media and other information campaigns. 
  2. The warning phase will start December 1, 2016, and continue for 4 months. Ottawa Public Health staff and By-law & Regulatory Services staff will visit water pipe establishments to ensure they are aware of the new rules. In addition, efforts will be made to contact businesses, festivals and other organizations that could be affected.
  3. The charging phase will commence April 3, 2017. When this phase begins, by-law enforcement staff would issue tickets, as appropriate, that carry penalties.

Let’s clear the air

The City of Ottawa's smoke-free regulations are part of a strategy that is designed to protect children and non-smokers from second-hand smoke, while reducing smoking rates. 
The following spaces are smokefree:

  • Indoor public places and workplaces
  • All areas of municipal properties including parks, playgrounds, beaches, and outdoor areas around City facilities
  • ByWard and Parkdale Market stands
  • Indoor and outdoor restaurant, bar, and food premises including patios
  • All sports fields and spectator areas, including a 20 metre radius
  • Motor vehicles with children under 16 in them
  • Water pipe (hookah) smoking is banned in all work places and public places starting December 1, 2016 

The new smoke-free regulations apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Report a smoking violation to serviceottawa.ca or by calling 3-1-1.

Ottawa Public Health can provide training for staff and volunteers and provide educational resources about the new regulations. To enquire further about this service, please contact the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744, or e-mail healthsante@ottawa.ca.

For help to quit smoking

MyQuit offers a variety of quit smoking programs and services. For more information, visit MyQuit.ca or call 1-877-376-1701.

Enforcement

Contraventions of regulations may result in the issuance of Provincial Offence Notice tickets that will carry a fine.

Questions and answers

Why are you banning smoking on patios and City property?

Second-hand smoke is a health hazard. The elimination of second-hand smoke will protect the health of your employees and patrons. Second-hand smoke can cause cancer and research shows there is no safe level of second-hand smoke, even outdoors. Recent public opinion polling shows that Ottawa residents are in support of. Ottawa’s new smoke-free regulations.

How will you enforce these new regulations?

By-law enforcement staff will do proactive patrols of patios and municipal property, respond to complaints from the general public and, where appropriate, issue Provincial Offence Notice tickets that carry fines.

Why is a no-smoking curfew (such as before 8 p.m.) not included in Ottawa’s new smoke-free regulations?

Second-hand smoke is toxic 24 hours a day. There is strong public support for expanded by-laws to include smoke-free outdoor parks, playgrounds, beaches and sports fields at all times. Therefore, all smoke-free regulations apply 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What is the City doing about cigarette litter on the streets?

The City will continue with regular street litter clean-ups, which include cigarette butts. In addition, the City promotes the Cleaning the Capital and Don’t Be a Litterbug campaigns. Some existing cigarette butt receptacles may be relocated. Monitoring for litter hot spots will be in place.

What are the goals of the smoke-free strategy?

The renewed strategy for a smoke-free Ottawa will:

  • Protect residents, especially children, from exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Reduce negative role-modeling.
  • Support people who have quit or want to quit.
  • Reduce smoking rates.
  • Reduce the likelihood of starting smoking in children and youth.

Smoking restrictions, both indoors and outdoors, help decrease the perception among youth and young adults that “everybody smokes.” In Ottawa, 85 per cent of adults are non-smokers.

How can I help support the new smoke-free regulations?

Inform your employees, volunteers, and members about the changes:

  • Train employees and volunteers about the new smoke-free regulations, including what to say to someone who is smoking. For example: I’m sorry, but there is a new City of Ottawa by-law that started on April 2, 2012, which bans smoking on all City of Ottawa property and patios.”
  • Refer people to, or print information from ottawa.ca/smokefree, or request and in-person presentation from Ottawa Public Health.
  • Display posters and other promotional items.
  • Encourage staff, volunteers and members to be compliant with the new City of Ottawa smoke-free regulations.

How can my establishment/organization deal with people who refuse to comply with the smoke-free regulations?

The City of Ottawa anticipates a high level of voluntary compliance, however; some people may continue to smoke. The following are some techniques you may wish to use to encourage compliance with the smoke-free regulations:

  • Show concern when speaking directly to the person. Respect personal space.
  • Explain that the regulations prohibit smoking on patios and City property at all times.
  • Politely and calmly request that the person extinguish the cigarette or leave the patio or property to smoke.
  • If the person refuses to comply, visit ottawa.ca/smokefree or call 3-1-1.
  • Ask the patron to leave if the situation starts to get threatening. Call 9-1-1 immediately and ask for police assistance if the situation escalates.

Can someone speak to my staff about the new smoke-free regulations??

Yes. Ottawa Public Health staff are available to offer an information session or training about the new smoke-free regulations. Contact the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744, or e-mail healthsante@ottawa.ca for more information. 

What services are available if my employees or I want to quit smoking?

Ottawa Public Health offers a variety of programs and services for individuals or groups to help people quit smoking. As well, Ottawa Public Health can offer workplace cessation workshops to groups who are interested in reducing or quitting smoking.

What has been the experience of other cities with similar regulations?

Smoke-free outdoor spaces are a growing trend around the world. In Ontario, there are currently more than 40 municipalities with varying degrees of outdoor smoking bans that are more comprehensive than the Smoke Free Ontario Act.
Smoke-free legislation is mostly self-enforcing, as shown by the experiences of other major cities like Vancouver and New York City. They enjoy widespread public compliance and, to date, these efforts have been very successful.

Consultations with other cities that have enacted similar smoke-free patio regulations, such as Kingston and Vancouver, have found there was a high level of compliance on patios. They have not reported any negative economic impacts on their hospitality industries.

Information for bars and restaurants

The City of Ottawa’s by-laws have been amended to prohibit smoking on all restaurant, bar and food premises patios. These amendments are in effect as of April 2, 2012. This is part of the City’s Renewed Strategy for a Smoke-free Ottawa, which is designed to protect children and non-smokers from second-hand smoke, while reducing smoking rates.

If your patio is not already covered by the Smoke Free Ontario Act, your business will be affected by either the:

  • Public Places By-law (By-law No.2001-148, as amended), which prohibits smoking on an outdoor patio; or
  • Encroachment By-law (By-law No. 2003-446, as amended), which refers to patio encroachments and café seating, and requires the permit holder to ensure no smoking is permitted on the patio.

Prohibition on Smoking

As a result of the Public Places By-law (By-law No.2001-148, as amended) and the Encroachment By-law (By-law No. 2003-446, as amended), smoking is now prohibited on all outdoor restaurant, bar and food premises patios. The prohibition includes patio encroachments and café seating in the right-of-way. Regulations are in effect year-round whether or not food and/or drink are being served.

Duties of Proprietors

All proprietors or persons responsible for patios:

  • Must ensure sufficient and visible signage has been posted.
  • Must remove all ashtrays. Other receptacles cannot be used for cigarette or cigar ashes or butts.
  • Must not permit smoking on their patios No curfews or designated smoking areas are permitted.

Duties of the Public

 No person is permitted to smoke on a restaurant, bar or food premises patio.

Enforcement

City of Ottawa by-law enforcement officers may enter any public place to ensure compliance with the by-laws.

Penalties

Proprietors who do not take all reasonable steps to prevent smoking on their premises may be ticketed and subject to a fine.

Persons who smoke where smoking is prohibited may also be ticketed and subject to a fine.

Any business found in violation of the conditions of its patio/café seating permit, including allowing smoking on the encroachment without taking reasonable steps to prevent smoking on the patio, may have its patio/café seating permit revoked.

Frequently asked questions

Who is responsible for no-smoking signage?

Owners are responsible to post the required no-smoking signage provided by the City of Ottawa. This will serve to inform and help remind patrons that the patio is smoke-free, and will assist staff when reminding customers to not smoke on your patio.

Business owners responsible for patios on private property must ensure that a sufficient number of signs, indicating that smoking is prohibited on the patio, are posted in a visible location. These must meet the requirements prescribed in the Public Places By-law.

Business owners responsible for patios in the right-of-way under an Encroachment Permit must ensure that signs, indicating that smoking is prohibited on the patio, are posted in a visible location.

Free signage for patios is available from Ottawa Public Health and will be delivered by a by-law enforcement officer during the month of April. If your business has not received signage, or requires new signage, please contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744, or e-mail healthsante@ottawa.ca.

How can I minimize the risk of someone smoking on my patio?

Business owners can minimize the risk of people smoking on their patio by posting no-smoking signage, removing ashtrays, training employees and requesting additional assistance from the City.

What can I do about litter on my property?

Cigarette litter is an ongoing problem in many major cities and can be unsightly in front of a business. Businesses in other cities have found it helpful to post signage, and to work with their Business Improvement Area (BIA) to develop neighbourhood focused solutions.

If your business or your BIA would like assistance dealing with litter problems, Ottawa Public Health is available to offer assistance to address specific issues. Call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 or email at  healthsante@ottawa.ca.

What are my responsibilities around litter and my property?

Businesses are still required to continue with their regular sidewalk maintenance duties.

I am concerned about customers leaving to smoke and running out on their unpaid bill.

The City recommends that business owners and their staff follow the same policies and procedures they use in the winter months when people exit to smoke.

I am concerned about intoxicated guests leaving my establishment to smoke or patrons leaving their drinks unattended.

Business operators and their staff should be fully aware of their responsibilities as Licensed Liquor Establishments. Speak with your Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario point of contact for any alcohol-related questions and review Smart Serve procedures with your staff.

If smoking is prohibited on bar/club patios, won’t this complicate how bars manage wait lines?

There are a number of bars and clubs that do not have patios and successfully manage wait times when patrons go in and out to smoke. If your establishment does not already have a policy in place, it is recommended that your management proactively create a policy and train your staff on the new procedures.

Seven steps to successfully create smoke-free patios

  1. Post the required “no smoking” signs at all entrances and exits to your patio. Business owners responsible for patios on private property and business owners responsible for patios in the right-of-way, under an Encroachment Permit, must ensure that signs indicating that smoking is prohibited on the patio are posted in a visible location. Signs will be delivered to your business.
  2. Remove all ashtrays and cigarette butt receptacles from your bar or restaurant.
  3. Train your employees so that they know how to speak to customers about the new smoke-free regulations. You can call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744, or e-mail healthsante@ottawa.ca, to request a presentation for your staff.
  4. Focus on smoking, not the smoker. Second-hand smoke is a workplace health hazard for your employees and puts the health of your patrons at risk. If someone wishes to smoke, politely ask them to stop smoking or to leave the patio to smoke.
  5. Visit ottawa.ca/smokefree or call 3-1-1 if you need assistance to enforce the smoke-free regulations.
  6. Call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 or e-mail healthsante@ottawa.ca if you require additional information materials or signage.
  7. For help to quit smoking, visit ottawa.ca/smokefree.

Information for event organizers

The City of Ottawa’s Parks and Facilities By-law has been amended to prohibit smoking on all municipal properties, owned and leased by the City of Ottawa, including parks, playgrounds, beaches, sports fields, ByWard and Parkdale Market stands, and outdoor areas around City facilities.

This amendment is in effect as of April 2, 2012. This is part of the City’s Renewed Strategy for a Smoke-free Ottawa, which is designed to protect children and non-smokers from second-hand smoke, while reducing smoking rates.

Outdoor festivals and events, that take place on City of Ottawa property are now smoke-free.

Events that do not take place on City property are not subject to regulations; however the City strongly encourages all organizers of outdoor festivals and events to adopt a smoke-free approach. These types of activities attract people of all ages, including young adults and children. Making your venue smoke-free will respond to public demand for smoke-free spaces and promote healthier people, a cleaner city and smoke-free kids. 

Parks and Facilities By-law

The Parks and Facilities By-law (By-law No. 2004-276, as amended) regulates municipal properties such as parks, beaches, sports fields and areas around City facilities. Municipal property includes properties owned and leased by the City.  The regulations will also apply to all outdoor festivals and events taking place on property owned or leased by the City.

Duties of Event Organizers of Outdoor Festivals and Events

All holders of special event permits are required to comply with any and all applicable laws including the non-smoking provisions under the Parks and Facilities By-law (By-law No. 2004-276, as amended). Permit holders should discourage smoking at the event and ensure sufficient and visible no-smoking signage is posted.

Duties of the Public

No person is permitted to smoke on outdoor City properties including at outdoor festivals and events taking place on City property.

Enforcement

City of Ottawa by-law enforcement officers may enter any public place to ensure compliance with the by-law.

Penalties

Every person who is convicted of smoking in contravention of the by-law is liable to a fine. The City may, as part of the special event permit process, take into consideration whether the permit holder took reasonable measures to ensure the festival or event complied with the non-smoking requirements.

Frequently asked questions

Who is responsible for no-smoking signage?

There is no requirement for no-smoking signage at outdoor festivals and events on City of Ottawa property. Posting signage is however a best practice and will help to ensure due diligence on the part of the outdoor festival or event organizer, and will help remind attendees, volunteers and employees that your event is smoke-free.

Free signage for outdoor festivals and events can be requested from Ottawa Public Health. If your outdoor festival or event has not received signage or requires new signage, please contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744, or at healthsante@ottawa.ca.

Why was there no grace period given for outdoor festivals and events that take place after July 2, 2012? 

The City of Ottawa will work to ensure residents and visitors are aware of the new smoke-free regulations prior to July 2, 2012, as part of a comprehensive public awareness campaign. In addition, Ottawa Public Health is working with festival and event organizers to support their efforts to create smoke-free outdoor events. Call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 for more information, or e-mail healthsante@ottawa.ca.

Will an outdoor festival or event that takes place on National Capital Commission (NCC) property be smoke-free? 

All event organizers in Ottawa are strongly encouraged to have smoke-free events. Events occurring on NCC land can also request no-smoking signage by calling Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744, or by email at healthsante@ottawa.ca.

To ensure a smoke-free outdoor festival or event, there are a number of actions that are recommended:

  • Ensure that your employees and volunteers are educated about the new smoke-free regulations. Refer them to, or print information from ottawa.ca/smokefree, or request an in-person presentation from Ottawa Public Health.

  • Before the outdoor festival or event, include the smoke-free requirement in your advertising and on your website. Make it clear to the public that your outdoor festival or event is smoke-free.

  • Post no-smoking signage in high traffic locations to increase awareness of the regulations.

  • Coach employees and volunteers on how to intervene appropriately if someone is smoking at the event. They should know how to inform the person of the regulations and politely ask them to stop or to leave the property to smoke.

  • Visit ottawa.ca/smokefree or call 3-1-1 if someone refuses to stop smoking.

Information for ByWard and Parkdale Market stands

The City of Ottawa’s ByWard Market Program By-law and Parkdale Market By-law have been amended such that smoking in the stands located on the market premises is prohibited. These amendments took effect on March 1, 2012. This is part of the City’s Renewed Strategy for a Smoke-free Ottawa, which is designed to protect children and non-smokers from second-hand smoke, while reducing smoking rates.

 

ByWard Market

The ByWard Market Program By-law (By-law No. 2008-449) requires the licensee and stand permit holder ensure that smoking is not permitted in the stand. As such, both the public and the vendor are not permitted to smoke in the stand. The by-law also requires that a sign, indicating that the stand is smoke-free, be posted in a visible location.

 

Parkdale Market

The Parkdale Market By-law (By-law No. 2008-448) requires the licensee and stand permit holder ensure that smoking is not permitted in the stand.  As such, the public and the vendor are not permitted to smoke in the stand. The by-law also requires that a sign, indicating that the stand is smoke-free, be posted in a visible location.

 

Duties of Licensee and Permit Holder

  • Must ensure no smoking in the stands by anyone.
  • Must ensure that a sign, indicating that smoking is not permitted, is posted in a visible location.

 

Enforcement

By-law enforcement officers may enter the ByWard and Parkdale Market stands to ensure compliance with the by-law.

 

Penalties

In the event of a contravention of the smoking prohibition, the stand permit holder and licensee could have their permit and license suspended or revoked.

Members of the public and Licensees and Permit Holders at the Parkdale Market who contravene the by-law may be liable to a fine, as the Parkdale Market is located on City property.

Smoke-Free Spaces Survey Results

Ottawa Public Health commissioned Ipsos-Reid to conduct a survey of Ottawa residents to gauge their support for smoke-free spaces and their knowledge of the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

Strong support for smoke-free spaces

Support for smoke-free spaces is high in Ottawa with majorities supporting nearly all areas questioned. Public support for smoke-free spaces has increased in Ottawa from 2005 to 2011:

 

20051

20112

Doorways to public places

66%

84%

Doorways to workplaces

65%

81%

Outdoor Sports Field

54%

81%

Inside hotels, motels, B&B

NA

78%

Hospital Campuses

59%

78%

Municipal Properties

NA

77%

Playgrounds and Parks

71%

77%

Post-secondary campuses

NA

74%

Patios

50%

73%

Festivals, fairs, parades, markets

NA

70%

Beaches

55%

68%

Construction Sites

NA

49%

Among respondents that have smoked in the past 30 days, the highest support was for doorways to public places (58.5%), outdoor sports fields (54.7%), hospitals (54.7%), doorways to workplaces (51.9%), playgrounds and parks (50%), and post-secondary campuses (46.2%).

Awareness of health risks of second-hand smoke exposure

  • 91% of respondents are aware that exposure to second-hand smoke can cause a number of serious health problems
  • 79% of respondents believe that regulations banning smoking from outdoor areas can help to protect people from exposure to second-hand smoke
  • 79% of respondents believe that children and youth who see people smoking are at greater risk of using tobacco products
  • 68% of respondents believe that exposure to second-hand smoke can be as dangerous outdoors as it is indoors
  • 63% believe that cigarette butt pollution found in sandboxes and beaches can lead to adverse health effects

Methodology

  1. 2005 Metrovox telephone survey conducted by Ottawa Public Health on 401 randomly selected Ottawa residents aged 18 and older.
  2. 2011 Ipsos-Reid telephone survey conducted by Ottawa Public Health on 400 randomly selected Ottawa residents aged 18 and older in August 2011. To ensure a representative sample, quotas were established by region, age and gender based on the 2006 census.

NA=Not asked

Social smoking

Social Smoking Poster bearing the message "Big tobacoo knows that social smoking paves the way to a lifetime of addiction - Take a different route"

What is Social Smoking?

Social smoking is the occasional use of tobacco products while at parties, bars, sporting events or while spending time with friends. It is very common among people who smoke socially to deny even being a smoker.

Lifetime of Addiction

  • Signs of nicotine addiction can show when you smoke as little as one cigarette per month
  • At first, one cigarette will relieve the need for nicotine for weeks
  • However, as your body gets used to the nicotine, you must smoke more and more to meet that need

Stop – Take a Different Route

To cut down or quit tobacco use, check out the help available in Ottawa, or through LeaveThePackBehind.

Helping You Quit - for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

You probably know that smoking during pregnancy is not healthy for you and can lead to:

  • Miscarriage
  • Going into labour too early
  • Your water breaking too soon
  • Problems with the placenta (with risks to mom and baby)

Smoking can also hurt your child after birth; it increases your child’s risk for:

  • being born too small (babies born too small are at risk for infections and other health problems)
  • SIDS
  • Behaviour and mental health problems (for example, ADHD, autism, depression, learning problems).

We know that it’s hard to quit.

We're letting you know that you can get help when pregnant.
During pregnancy and breastfeeding, counselling is recommended as the first choice of treatment for quitting or reducing your smoking.

If you are having trouble reducing or quitting with counseling alone and you are past your first trimester of pregnancy, as second option is nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as the gum.

If the gum is not effective your Health Care Provider may recommend the patch.

If you choose the patch, try removing it at bedtime to reduce the baby’s exposure to the nicotine.

Ottawa Public Health:

  • Recommends that you try to quit smoking as soon as possible.
  • Understands that quitting is hard to do and reducing the amount you smoke is a good goal too.
  • Provides free counselling and free NRT in both one on one and group counselling sessions
  • Recommends that using NRT is better than smoking.
  • Supports NRT and breastfeeding and suggests that youkeep using NRT for as long you need it.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

Benefits: 

  • You and your baby avoid the 4,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
  • Helps you with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Doubles your chance of quitting smoking.
  • Exposes you and your baby to less nicotine than cigarettes.

Risks: 

There are no known risks compared to smoking, if you use the gum or patch as directed.

Smoking during breastfeeding...

  • Can expose you and your child to harmful chemicals
  • Can lead to less or lower quality milk

If you continue to smoke, Don’t Stop Breastfeeding. There are still many more benefits from breastfeeding. Avoid smoking just before breastfeeding and make sure you smoke outside away from the baby. 

Print version [PDF 607 KB]

Resources

  • Ottawa Public Health Information Line:  free confidential information and advice on a variety of health topics
    613-580-6744
    TTY: 613-580-9656
    Toll free: 1-866-426-8885
    Monday to Friday (9 am to 4 pm)
    healthsante@ottawa.ca
  • Prenatal classes
  • Pregnets
  • Smoker’s Helpline 1-877-513-5333
  • Motherisk Helpline 1-877-327-4636
  • CAN-ADAPTT Guidelines

Second-hand smoke

Second-hand smoke (SHS) is the smoke exhaled by a smoker as well as the smoke from the burning tobacco. It contains more than 4,000 dangerous chemicals, 70 of which cause cancer. There is no safe level of exposure.

There is NO safe level of second-hand smoke...even outdoors

Exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) can be as dangerous on restaurant patios, the beach or park as it is indoors.

Resources

Protect yourself and your family from second-hand smoke

Are you exposed to your neighbour’s second-hand smoke?

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibits smoking in common areas of condominiums, apartment buildings and college and university residences. Examples of common areas include elevators, stairwells, hallways, parking garages, laundry facilities, lobbies, exercise areas and party or entertainment rooms.

Second-hand smoke can easily transfer between units and can expose you to harmful second-hand smoke in your home. To learn how you can protect yourself from second-hand smoke, visit Smoke Free Housing Ontario.

I want to get involved

Visit the Ottawa Council on Smoking and Health to learn how you can get involved with this important public health issue.

Outdoor spaces

poster - There is NO safe level of second-hand smoke...even outdoors

On a restaurant patio, at the beach or in the park, exposure to second-hand smoke outdoors (SHS) can be as dangerous as it is indoors.

  • SHS has over 4000 chemicals
  • the toxic level outside can be as high as in a smoke filled room
  • SHS can cause many types of cancer, respiratory illnesses and heart disease
  • children are more likely to suffer from coughing and wheezing, sore eyes and throat and asthma attacks
  • cigarette butts can also contaminate sandboxes and beaches

Smoke-free outdoor spaces promotes healthier lifestyles

Studies show that smoke-free spaces can dramatically reduce heart attack rates and respiratory illnesses. Smoke-free outdoor spaces can:

  • protect non-smokers from the harmful effects of SHS
  • help smokers to quit
  • encourage former smokers to remain smoke-free
  • protect children from starting to smoke by providing good role models
  • reduce litter

Let’s Clear the Air

For more information, contact healthsante@ottawa.ca or call 613-580-6744.

Other Links

Tobacco and the law

Making Healthier Choices Act, Bill 45

The Ontario Government passed the Making Healthier Choices Act in 2015 to protect residents from the harmful effects of tobacco use and e-cigarettes.

Flavoured Tobacco Products

  • Flavoured tobacco products may no longer be sold, as of January 1, 2016.
  • Products containing menthol may not be sold after January 1, 2017.

E-Cigarettes

  • Effective January 1, 2016, it is illegal to sell or supply electronic cigarettes and component parts (e.g. battery, atomizer) to anyone under 19 years of age. 

Other Changes

  • The maximum fines for those who sell or supply tobacco to youth have increased, making Ontario's maximum fines the highest in Canada
  • Enforcement officers granted authority to test product used in water pipes (e.g. hookahs, shisha) in indoor public places.

Workplace Health - Smoke-Free Resources

Quit smoking workshops at your workplace

Work with Ottawa Public Health to host a FREE 2-hour workshop on location at workplaces where there are 10 or more participants who want support to quit.

Each workshop involves:

  • a 2-hour workshop about quit smoking tools and techniques
  • a brief one-on-one counseling session with a public health Quit Coach
  • 5-weeks of FREE nicotine patches, available for eligible participants

To register, please contact the Workplace Health Line:
workplacehealth@ottawa.ca
613-580-6744, ext. 24197

For more information, call the Ottawa Public Health Business Health Line at 613-580-6744, ext. 24197.

Promoting Smoke-Free Policies:  A guide for workplaces

Making your business welcoming by keeping it free from second-hand smoke (SHS) shows you care about the health of others and the environment. 

There is no safe level of SHS-inside or outside.  Even a small amount of SHS can affect health.  Any employee or customer that passes by someone smoking will be exposed to SHS. 

Ottawa Public Health has developed a guide and signs to help employers protect their employees and customers from SHS at entrances and on outdoor property.   

To obtain your free guide and signage, please contact the Workplace Health Line at 613-580-6744 ext. 24197 or email workplacehealth@ottawa.ca.

Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes)

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is concerned with the lack of research, regulation and quality control of how e-cigarettes are manufactured, marketed and used, especially the marketing and availability towards youth. OPH is continuing to monitor and review all the scientific research, along with best practices by leading public health agencies including the World Health Organization, regarding e-cigarettes. OPH is conducting an environmental scan in various jurisdictions, where policies on e-cigarettes have been implemented to help inform policy and programming in Ottawa.

What is an electronic cigarette?

  • Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are designed to mimic the appearance of cigarettes without the tobacco. They are battery-powered devices that vaporise the liquid contents of a cartridge. The vapour is then inhaled by the user.
  • The liquid is referred to as e-liquid. Companies produce e-liquids with and without nicotine. E-liquids also come in many different flavours.
  • Propylene glycol (PG) is one of the main ingredients found in e-liquids. PG is a known irritant when inhaled.

  What is the legal status of electronic cigarettes?

  • E-cigarettes that have nicotine or make a health claim have not been approved for sale in Canada, and are therefore illegal. People can report the sale of these products to Health Canada at 1-800-267-9675.
  • E-cigarettes without nicotine, and making no health claim, can be sold.
  • The Ontario Government introduced new legislation called the Electronic Cigarettes Act. Effective January 1, 2016, it is illegal to sell or supply electronic cigarettes and component parts (e.g. battery, atomizer) to anyone under 19 years of age. 

  Are there health risks from using electronic cigarettes?

  • Health Canada warns people not to buy or use e-cigarettes as they may cause health risks. E-cigarettes have not been fully tested for safety.
  • People in search of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) should use products that have been proven safe and effective. These products include the nicotine inhaler, patch, lozenge and gum.
  • E-cigarettes, including their nicotine cartridges, must be kept out of the reach of children at all times, given the risk of choking or nicotine poisoning.
  • There are no long term studies on the health effects of using e-cigarettes.
  • Ottawa Public Health recommends that e-cigarettes not be used in enclosed spaces due to possible health risks associated with second-hand vapors.

 For more information:

Ottawa Public Health offers many services to help people quit smoking. For more information about quit smoking programs, call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744, by email at healthsante@ottawa.ca or by visiting ottawa.ca/quitsmoking

Fresh air contest - Helping construction workers to quit smoking

EVERYONE who works in the Trades has a chance to WIN

Winners of previous Fresh Air contests

Smoke-free can happen on site… and you can participate in one of the three categories below:

Quit for one month

Congratulations on deciding to quit smoking! Set your quit date with the FRESH AIR contest and you’ll have a chance to win prizes! Not to mention- quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your health. There are supports available to help you Quit the smoke break – ask your site's supervisor or Health and Safety representative for more information.

Help someone to quit

You can be an important part to someone’s quit attempt. You can help someone be successful by supporting them while they quit. Support and accurate information plus Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) increases the chances for someone to successfully quit. 

Don’t smoke

Be smoke free and act as a positive influence for others on site. Sometimes a little encouragement can go a long way!

Hookah regulations and health information

Hookah (water pipe) smoking banned in all work places and public places starting December 1, 2016

Ottawa City Council has enacted municipal regulations that ban the use of water pipes (also known as hookahs) in the same enclosed workplaces, enclosed public places and outdoor restaurant and bar patios where smoking of tobacco is prohibited. The municipal regulations also ban the use of water pipes in the Parkdale Market and Byward Market stands.

Since 2012, the City of Ottawa has banned the use of water pipes and non-tobacco products on outdoor City of Ottawa property.

Phase-in Period of the New Regulations

These changes will be rolled out over three phases:

  1. An education phase will run throughout the fall and winter to ensure a smooth transition for owners and employees of affected restaurants and bars. The new rules will be promoted through the media, advertising, social media and other information campaigns. 
  2. The warning phase will start December 1, 2016, and continue for 4 months. Ottawa Public Health staff and By-law & Regulatory Services staff will visit water pipe establishments to ensure they are aware of the new rules. In addition, efforts will be made to contact businesses, festivals and other organizations that could be affected.
  3. The charging phase will commence April 3, 2017. When this phase begins, by-law enforcement staff would issue tickets, as appropriate, that carry penalties.

For more information about the expanded smoke-free regulations, or to get help to quit smoking, please visit ottawa.ca/smokefree or call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through Facebook and Twitter.

What's a few toxins between friends?

A young woman exhales a cloud of smoke from a hookah in a social setting.

All hookah smoke contains cancer-causing chemicals and toxins, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals and tar.

What is hookah smoking?

  • The hookah, also known as a water-pipe or shisha, is a device used to smoke tobacco product and herbal product that is specially made with molasses and flavouring. 

Why should I be concerned?

  • Hookah smoking carries many health risks and is gaining popularity among young adults due to the variety of flavoured product and the misperception that it is a “healthier” alternative to cigarette smoking.

Who’s using the hookah?

  • Ottawa data collected in 2014 shows that approximately 14% of people over the age of 18 in Ottawa have used a hookah at some point in their life, with nearly 50% of those aged 18 to 24 reporting that they have tried a hookah. 

  • Since 2006, hookah use among the Ontario population aged 18 and up has tripled from 3% to 10% in 2012.  

Why is hookah smoking dangerous to my health?

  • It can be addictive. The tobacco used in a hookah contains nicotine, the same highly addictive drug found in cigarettes.
  • Chemicals are absorbed into your body. The smoke from a hookah pipe contains chemicals and toxins including carbon monoxide, carcinogens, heavy metals and tar. The water in a hookah pipe does not act as a filter.
  • There are health risks.  Hookah smoking is associated with a number of poor health outcomes including lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth weight, carbon monoxide poisoning, adverse cardiac events and periodontal disease. 
  • You can catch an infectious disease.  There is a risk of contracting viruses and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, herpes, influenza, and oral disease from sharing the hose or mouthpiece of a hookah pipe.  The use of a disposable tip does not prevent the transmission of contagious diseases.
  • It produces second-hand smoke.  A recent study conducted by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit showed that the air quality in hookah bars tested in Toronto was unhealthy and potentially hazardous.

For more information check out the following link

Report smoking in the public or workplace

To report a smoking violation, please select from the following list of locations or situations:

Smoking at a City Facility/Property

Smoking in a Common Area

Smoking at a Hospital or Long Term Care Facility

Smoking at Restaurant, Bar, Patio

Smoking at a School

Smoking Shisha/Hookah

Smoking in the Workplace Violation

Please note that we will do our best to have a by-law officer attend your location, although it may not be possible for one to arrive in time. We are, however, tracking all reported violations of the smoke-free regulations and the information provided will help us to determine problem areas within the City. With this information, by-law officers can conduct focused enforcement efforts based on data collected from public complaints and from staff reports as well.

For more information

Please refer to the tobacco page, the Smoke-Free Public Places By-Law (no. 2001-148) or the Smoke-Free Workplaces By-Law (no. 2001-149) for more information.

Report tobacco sales to minors

The sale of tobacco products, including in-store placement and advertising, is regulated by the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

Report tobacco retail sales to minors

Please note that we will do our best to have a by-law officer attend your location, although it may not be possible for one to arrive in time. We are, however, tracking all reported violations of the smoke-free regulations and the information provided will help us to determine problem areas within the City. With this information, by-law officers can conduct focused enforcement efforts based on data collected from public complaints and from staff reports as well.

For more information

Please refer to the tobacco page for more information.

Request tobacco retailer signage

Tobacco retailers can request new or additional signage, such as health warnings or age restrictions.

Request tobacco retailer signage

Report tobacco retail signage violation

The sale of tobacco products, including in-store placement and advertising, is regulated by the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.

Report tobacco retail signage violation

Please note that we will do our best to have a by-law officer attend your location, although it may not be possible for one to arrive in time. We are, however, tracking all reported violations of the smoke-free regulations and the information provided will help us to determine problem areas within the City. With this information, by-law officers can conduct focused enforcement efforts based on data collected from public complaints and from staff reports as well.

For more information

Please refer to the tobacco page for more information.