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Going Smoke-Free: Tips for Workplaces

As of June 1, 2004, all public places* and workplaces must be
100% smoke-free.

A workplace is any enclosed, indoor area where an employee works. This includes all common areas such as:

  • washrooms
  • lobbies
  • parking garages
  • break rooms
  • cafeterias
  • change rooms
    and any vehicle where an employee works.

What must employers do to comply with the by-law?

  • Post the required No Smoking signs in plain sight at each entrance. Signs are available from Durham Region Health Department.
  • Prevent employees and customers from smoking inside the workplace.
  • Remove all ashtrays from inside the workplace.
  • Prevent employees and customers from placing ashtrays inside the workplace.

How can employers ease the transition to being smoke-free?

  • Inform all employees and customers about the upcoming by-law.
  • Designate and prepare specific outdoor smoking areas.
  • Inform employees and customers where they will be able to smoke outside.
  • Prepare employees for responding to customers and fellow employees who are smoking inside the workplace.
    For example: "I’m sorry, but the by-law prohibits smoking inside this building. Would you please put out the cigarette or go outside with it?"
  • Update your internal policy to be consistent with the by-law.

How can employers support their employees?

  • Determine whether or not your insurance benefits provider offers coverage for quit smoking products.
  • Implement an incentive program that includes prizes for employees who have recently quit smoking.
  • Provide opportunities to promote healthy living (eg. offer partial gym memberships or exercise equipment rebates; allow employees time for walk and stretch breaks).

The Health Department can help employers to:

  • provide employees with information and assistance to quit smoking.
  • direct employees to Websites that support smoke-free living.
  • organize a "Smoke-Free for a Day" contest.
  • provide a "Second-Hand Smoke" or "Be Smoke-Free" display.
  • develop an internal policy that is consistent with the by-law.

For more information or to obtain resources, or for a consultation with Health Department Staff call: 905-668-7711 or 1-800-841-2729 email