Quebec | Quebec

Tobacco Control Act

Smoking, the definition of which includes the use of e-cigarettes and waterpipes with or without tobacco, is prohibited:

  • In enclosed public places and workplaces;
  • In private residences where home childcare within the meaning of that Act is provided, during the hours when childcare is provided;
  • In the common areas of residential buildings comprising two or more dwellings, whether or not the buildings are held in co-ownership;
  • In the common areas of private seniors’ residences within the meaning of the second paragraph of section 346.0.1 of the Act respecting health services and social services;
  • In enclosed spaces where prevention, assistance and support services, including temporary lodging services, are offered to persons in distress or persons in need of assistance, except if the services are offered in a dwelling;
  • Within a 9 m radius of any door, air intake or operable window leading to enclosed spaces that are open to the public, including health and social service institutions, colleges and universities, non-residential childcare centres, and facilities where activities for minors are held;
  • In motor vehicles in which a minor under 16 years of age is present;
  • On and within 9 m of bar and restaurant patios if they have more than 2 sides and a roof;
  • Within 9 m of transit shelters;
  • On school property;
  • On the grounds of and within 9 m of all child daycare and preschool grounds;
  • In tents, under big tops and in other similar facilities that are put up temporarily or permanently and are open to the public;
  • In public transportation, taxis and other vehicles carrying two or more persons that must be used in the course of employment;
  • In outdoor play areas intended for children that are open to the public, including splash pads, wading pools and skate parks;
  • On sports fields and playgrounds, including areas reserved for spectators, that are used by minors and open to the public;
  • On the grounds of vacation camps as well as at skating rinks and outdoor pools that are used by minors and open to the public;
  • In premises used for detention within the meaning of the Act respecting the Québec correctional system.

Hotels and hospitals must restrict the number of their rooms for smokers to 20%, down from 40%. Smoking rooms must be grouped together to reduce potential exposure. Patients will be permitted to smoke prescribed medical marijuana in such hospital rooms. Standards for outdoor smoking shelters, where they are allowed, are prescribed.

Regulatory authority is established to prescribe further outdoor places as being smoke-free.

In 2008, when the rules came into force, about 30 cafés and restaurants were grandfathered: smoking cigars or pipe tobacco is permitted in a cigar room provided that (1) the cigar room was specially set up for cigar or pipe smoking; (2) the cigar room was in operation on 10 May 2005; (3) the establishment was prohibited from selling food in the same area and must be closed to minors, among other provisions. Quebec publishes a list of cigar and hookah bars in the province that are legal, i.e., that qualify for this exemption under the law. It is now impossible to make an application for a new smoking exemption or even to move a facility that had been granted one.  In establishments that are not exempted, the use of all tobacco products is prohibited. However, in practice it appears that there are still dozens of illegal establishments.

There is no provision for municipalities to pass stronger smoke-free bylaws in this Act, although the possibility exists pursuant to the Municipal Powers Act regarding nuisances. However, few municipalities have taken advantage of this to date.

Products Included

Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes, Electronic Smoking Devices, Other Weeds and Substances, Waterpipes


“Smoking” also covers the use of an electronic cigarette or of any other device of that nature;

“Tobacco” includes any product containing tobacco, including electronic cigarettes and any other products of that nature that are put to one’s mouth to inhale any substance that may or may not contain nicotine, including their components and accessories, and any other product or class of product considered to be tobacco under a government regulation;

“Tobacco” also includes the following accessories: cigarette tubes, rolling paper and filters, pipes and cigarette holders.”

Places Smoking Prohibited

Child daycare and pre-school grounds
Doorways, air intakes, operable windows
E-cigarettes (indoors)
E-cigarettes (outdoors)
Enclosed public places
Enclosed workplaces
Patios - Restaurants and Bars
Playgrounds, which may include Splash Pads and Wading Pools
Private Vehicles with Children Present
Sports and Recreational Fields and Facilities
Transit Shelters/Stops
Waterpipes (indoors)
Waterpipes (outdoors)

Buffer Zones

Child daycare and pre-school grounds - 1-10 m
Doorways, Air Intakes and Operable Windows - Buffer Zone 1-10 m
Patios - Buffer Zone 1-10 m
Playgrounds - Buffer Zone 1-10 m
Sports and Recreational Fields and Facilities - Buffer Zone 1-10 m
Transit Shelters/Stops - Buffer Zone 1-10 m

Policy Analysis

The amended Act is considered leading edge because it prohibits smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes and waterpipes, within 9 m of any doorway, air intake or operable window of a building to which the public has access, as well as within 9 m of daycare and preschool grounds, as well as on bar and restaurant patios. Designated smoking shelters are allowed under the Act, which is not recommended.

An amendment to the Act required health and social services institutions, including post-secondary schools, to adopt a tobacco control policy by November 2017 geared to establishing a smoke-free environment. The policy must take into account the policy directions communicated by the Minister.

The executive director of an institution or the person holding the equivalent position must report to the
board of directors, or the equivalent, every two years on the application of the policy. The institution must
send the report to the Minister within 60 days of filing it with the board of directors or the equivalent.

Requiring institutions to adopt and submit smoke-free policies by a certain date is also leading edge. It recognizes that not all organizations are at the same state of readiness, and pushes policy development in areas where it might not have otherwise happened. It also puts enforcement responsibility on the organizations themselves, freeing up provincial resources.



Exemptions, such as for cigar rooms and hookah bars, are not recommended.


The exemptions for cigar bars and hookah bars that have been grandfathered under the Act make enforcement more difficult. It appears that such establishments have proliferated, despite the Act.

Date Passed: June 16, 2005

Date in Force: May 31, 2006

Date Last Amended: November 26, 2015

Leading Edge: Yes

Level of Government: Provincial/Territorial

Smoke-free Ontario Act Status: Exceeds Smoke-free Ontario Act

Bylaw Under Development? No

Supporting Information

Please find contact information related to this bylaw, and links to supporting materials.

Contact: Quebec City 418-644-4545 or Montreal 514-644-4545

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