The nine-metre rule: Quebec's new smoking laws in full effect
Published Monday, November 28, 2016 9:00AM EST
Smokers in Quebec are facing new regulations on where they are allowed to light up as well as what their cigarette packages will look like.
A new provincial law which forbids smoking within a nine-metre radius of a door, window or external air intake of a public or private building has taken effect as part of The Tobacco Control Act, introduced on Nov. 26, 2015.
Anyone caught repeatedly breaking the rules can face fines of up to $1,500. Businesses, such as restaurants, could face fines up to $100,000 if they continuously allow customers to smoke on their patios.
Similar regulations for schools and health facilities have already been in place in Quebec since 2006.
Melanie Champagne, a spokesperson for the Quebec division of the Canadian Cancer Society, told CTV Montreal on Sunday that the nine-metre rule doesn’t apply to buildings that are beside municipal sidewalks. She said that scientific literature has shown second-hand smoke can be harmful to the public, even when they’re outdoors. Although the new measures won’t affect those areas with sidewalks, Champagne said the new regulation is better than nothing.
“Big tobacco is killing 10,000 people a year and a couple of hundred non-smokers who are affected by second-hand smoke," said Champagne. "So, anything we can do, we have to do."
In addition to the law on where smokers can go, the provincial government has introduced minimum size requirements for health warning signs on cigarette packages. The aim of the new measure is to make sleek, small cigarette packages less aesthetically appealing to smokers, particularly young women.
“The industry really knows, the smaller it is, the more attractive it is, especially for young women," Champagne said.
Although smoking rates have decreased overall in the province, they have been increasing among one segment of the population according to Champagne.
“That's the young adults. So between 20, 25, 30 years old,” she said. “It's on the rise and it's very worrying.”
Although the new laws only apply to Quebec, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has committed to introducing new legislation on cigarette packaging sometime in the next year.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Cindy Sherwin