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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.

  • Friday, March 31, 2017 (Near Woodroffe Avenue and Baseline Road, College Ward)
  • 1 to 3 pm
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 (Near Bronson Avenue and Gladstone Avenue, Somerset Ward)
    6 to 8 pm
  • Tuesday, May 16, 2017 (Near Vanier Parkway and Donald Street, Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward)
    2 to 4 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 Alta Vista Dr and Heron Road (Alta Vista Ward)
    Start Date:  May 30, 2017
    Tuesdays: 1:15 to 2:45 pm

Logo for Myquit.ca. Quit smoking your way.

Community Drop-ins

Ottawa Public Health

Ottawa Public Health’s weekly drop-in provides counseling, and support to help you quit smoking. Meet one-on-one with a quit coach for up to 30 minutes to develop a personalized quit plan, get tips on how stay smoke-free, and, for eligible participants, receive free nicotine patches or gum.

To avoid a line-up, registration is recommended. To learn more, or to register, visit MyQuit.ca or call 1-866-376-1701.

  • Wednesdays: 12 pm to 3:30 pm
    100 Constellation Drive, second floor, see reception on arrival (Near Woodroffe Avenue and  Baseline Road, College Ward)

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.

Resources for pregnant and breastfeeding women wanting to quit smoking

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) offers one-on-one quit smoking counselling for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and their partner. During pregnancy and while breastfeeding, counselling is recommended as the first choice of treatment for quitting or reducing your smoking. With a note from a physician, OPH can also provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy to help you quit.

Contact MyQuit at  1 877 376-1701 or at MyQuit.ca for information about how to connect with a quit smoking counsellor in Ottawa.

Additional Resources

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.

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.

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

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.