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Québec’s new law on tobacco: 5 FAQs

In the weeks following the enactment of the Tobacco Control Act, many of you have called us to find out what this means for you. The new law, which prohibits smoking within a 9-meter radius of any building entrance or air intake, raises a lot of questions. Here are answers to the five asked most frequently. 

Do I have to move my ashtrays outside the 9-meter zone?

The new law doesn’t say anything specific about ashtrays near doorways, i.e., inside the no-smoking zone. However, it is not a good idea to leave them near doorways for two reasons:

  1. Your employees and customers will be tempted to smoke near doorways.
  2. This could send the message that you allow smoking within the 9-meter zone.

We therefore recommend that you move your ashtrays outside the 9-meter zone, if only to ensure that if you are inspected, it will be obvious that you did everything in your power to get people to follow the law.  

The distance between my main building and the edge of my property is less than 9 meters. Where are my employees/customers allowed to smoke?

The 9-meter zone applies to the edge of your property. If the city sidewalk is 3 meters away from your building, the prohibition against smoking stops at the edge of your property, i.e., 3 meters away. Your employees/customers can smoke on the sidewalk 3 meters away from your building entrance.

Do I have to install signs saying that smoking near my entrances is prohibited?

Yes. As an employer, you are required by law to install a sign saying that smoking is prohibited within 9 meters of any building entrance. You can print the sign provided on the website of Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services or you can order the sign by phone or online.

What must I do if my employees/customers break the law and smoke too close to my business establishment?

If you have moved your ashtrays; installed your signs; and issued notices telling people where they must go to smoke from now on, you must resort to disciplinary measures if the offenders are employees. Keep records of the actions you take to encourage employees/customers to follow the law, in case you are inspected.

Am I still allowed to have an external smoking shelter?

You are still allowed to provide a sheltered area for smokers, but this shelter must not be connected to your main building and it must be located at least 9 meters away from building entrances and air intakes. In addition, the shelter must be for the exclusive purpose of smoking.

…and one last question!

Does the new provincial law also apply to e-cigarettes?

Yes it does! The law does not make a distinction between e-cigarettes, regular cigarettes, cigars, and pipes!

Do you have questions? Need help? 
[email protected]