This week, Ottawa City Council voted to approve the enactment of regulations to expand existing smoke-free regulations.
The by-laws, once enacted, will come into effect on December 1, 2016 and the City is working to ensure residents, businesses and other affected groups are aware of the changes.
Since 2012, the use of water pipes has been prohibited on outdoor municipal property. These newly expanded smoke-free regulations will prohibit the use of water pipes (also known as hookahs) in the same public places, workplaces, and outdoor restaurant and bar patios where smoking of tobacco is prohibited under existing City by-laws and Provincial legislation.
These changes are designed to protect people from second hand smoke exposure, prevent youth initiation of water pipe smoking and de-normalize smoking behaviour among youth and young adults.
As Chair of the Board of Health, I am happy to see the City continuing to take initiative in deterring second-hand-smoke from occurring in public areas. I am hopeful that with these new changes in place, Ottawa Public Health will begin to see an even greater decline in youth smoking statistics within the City.
During the fall, By-law and Regulatory Services and Ottawa Public Health staff will reach out to affected restaurants and bars, business groups, community associations and event organizers, as well as to the general public, through various means including the City’s website and social media and by providing information and support to ensure that owners, employees and patrons are aware of the newly-expanded regulations.
A public awareness campaign will continue throughout the fall and winter to help ensure a smooth transition to these expanded smoke-free regulations. Starting December 1, 2016, by-law enforcement officers will provide information and issue courtesy warnings where appropriate. Stronger enforcement, which may include the issuance of Provincial Offences Notice tickets with accompanying fines, will begin April 3, 2017.
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.