Children, Seniors and Social Development

Smoke-Free Environments Frequently Asked Questions

The Smoke-Free Environment Act in Newfoundland and Labrador came into effect in 1994. At that time, smoking was either prohibited or restricted in public places. This included a smoking prohibition in day cares, schools, retail stores, recreational vehicles, public transportation vehicles and hospitals, and restrictions in food premises and liquor establishments. In 2002, other places such as food premises, games arcades, passenger terminals and common areas of hotels/motels were added to the list of public places where smoking was prohibited. On July 1, 2005, the Smoke-Free Environment Act, 2005 (SFEA, 2005) came into force and banned smoking in bars, bingo halls, private clubs and community centres, in addition to places where smoking has previously been banned. Also, smoking is prohibited on decks and patios of licensed liquor and food premises.

The following Questions and Answers should help you better understand the smoking prohibition under the SFEA, 2005. Questions and Answers.

  1. When did the most recent ban come into effect?
  2. Where is smoking banned?
  3. Is smoking banned on outside patios and decks of liquor establishments and food premises?
  4. Are establishments allowed to have designated smoking rooms for patrons to smoke?
  5. Can a bar owner install a designated smoking room for staff?
  6. Who is enforcing the smoking ban?
  7. Who is responsible for ensuring that people do not smoke in public places, where smoking is banned?
  8. The Act requires non smoking signs to be posted where smoking is prohibited. Where should an operator place the signs?
  9. Is smoking banned at events that have a special events liquor licence?
  10. What are the potential penalties for failing to comply with the smoking ban?
  11. Does the Act ban smoking within a certain distance of entrances/exits to public places?

1. When did the most recent ban come into effect?

The most recent smoking ban came into effect on July 01, 2005. As of July 01, 2005 smoking has been prohibited in indoor public places in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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2. Where is smoking banned?

Under the Smoke-free Environment Act, 2005 (SFEA, 2005) smoking is banned in licensed liquor establishments and bingo halls, in addition to the other indoor public places where smoking has previously been banned.

In 1994 smoking was banned in public places such as day cares, schools, taxis, hospitals, retail stores, and recreational facilities. From 1994 to 2002 public places, such as food establishments, bars and bingo halls, and workplaces could allow smoking in designated smoking areas or rooms. In 2002, through an amendment to the Smoke-free Environment Act, smoking was banned in food establishments, shopping malls, transportation terminals, hotel/motel common areas, games arcades, public libraries and boys and girls clubs.

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3. Is smoking banned on outside patios and decks of liquor establishments and food premises?

Yes, smoking is banned on decks and patios of food premises licensed under the Food and Drug Act and premises licensed under the Liquor Control Act.

Section 4 (1) of the SFEA, 2005 states: A person shall not smoke in (g) food premises licensed under the Food and Drug Act and (h) premises licensed under the Liquor Control Act.

Under 4(1)(c) smoking is banned in a part of an office building or other commercial establishment that is normally open to members of the public. If we consider a bar as a commercial establishment and the patio/deck to be part of the commercial establishment, then smoking would be prohibited.

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4. Are establishments allowed to have designated smoking rooms for patrons to smoke?

No, designated smoking rooms for use by patrons are not be permitted in public places such as bars, bingo halls and restaurants.

There are two exceptions. Psychiatric facilities and long term care facilities are permitted to have designated smoking rooms where residents can smoke.

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5. Can a bar owner install a designated smoking room for staff?

Yes, designated smoking rooms may be installed in all workplaces in Newfoundland and Labrador. The designated smoking rooms must:

  • Be for employee use only
  • Be completely enclosed rooms
  • Meet the independent mechanical ventilation requirements of the Smoke-free Environment Regulations, 2005 (SFER, 2005)

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6. Who is enforcing the smoking ban?

Government inspectors and inspectors with the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation are enforcing the ban. Routine compliance inspections and complaint investigations occur throughout the province during the hours that premises are in operation, including late at night.

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7. Who is responsible for ensuring that people do not smoke in public places, where smoking is banned?

The owner/operator of the public place (e.g., bar owner) is responsible, under the Smoke-free Environment Act, 2005, for ensuring that smoking does not take place in his/her establishment.

The Act clearly states that A An owner shall ensure that a person refrains from smoking in the public place that is normally open to members of the public for which the owner is responsible.@ (See Section 4 (3))

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8. The Act requires non smoking signs to be posted where smoking is prohibited. Where should an operator place the signs?

The Act and Regulations do not specify the number of signs that must be posted. However, the Regulations state that an owner of a public place shall, by means of clearly visible signs, inform members of the public who enter that public place that smoking is prohibited (see section 5 of the SFER, 2005).

The signs do no have to be the ones supplied or produced by government but must contain the universal recognized "no smoking" symbol that appears on the government signs.

Signs should be placed in conspicuous locations so they can be viewed by patrons of the public place.

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9. Is smoking banned at events that have a special events liquor licence?

No, section 8 of the Regulations exempts events with a special events liquor licence from the ban on smoking. This exemption includes a beer tent or beer garden at the event. However, if the event is held within a building, the event must be smoke-free.

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10. What are the potential penalties for failing to comply with the smoking ban?

An owner, operator or employer, who permits smoking in his/her establishment, upon conviction, can be fined between $500 and $5000. An individual who smokes where smoking is prohibited, upon conviction, can be fined between $50 and $500. In addition to the fine, for establishments licensed under the Liquor Control Act, the liquor licence of an establishment convicted of violating the Smoke-free Environment Act, 2005 may be canceled by the Board of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation.

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11. Does the Act ban smoking within a certain distance of entrances/exits to public places?

Does the Act ban smoking within a certain distance of entrances/exits to public places? No, the Act does not deal with perimeter or boundary bans. Smoking is permitted in outdoor spaces. The exception being decks and patios of licensed food and liquor premises.

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