Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases that kill hundreds of New Brunswickers each year, including cancer, lung diseases and cardiovascular diseases. The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco kills up to half its users, making it one of the world’s greatest public health threats. Despite what is known about tobacco, one in five New Brunswickers over the age of 15 smokes. One in ten youth aged 12-19 smokes.
The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health promotes tobacco-free living by administering legislation that supports smoke-free public places and restricts both tobacco advertising and sales to youth. The goal is to create environments that will discourage people, especially children from ever starting to use tobacco. Tobacco-free living at home, work and play is important to the health of all New Brunswickers. The Department of Health works closely with the Department of Social Development and other partner organizations to support tobacco-free living initiatives.
Specific legislation under the authority of the Minister of Health includes:
The Smoke Free Places Act came into effect in New Brunswick in 2004. The purpose of this legislation is to protect New Brunswickers from exposure to second-hand smoke and to ‘de-normalize’ tobacco use. This legislation prohibited smoking in all enclosed public places, indoor workplaces, on school grounds and in vehicles with children under the age of 16.
On June 5, 2015, Bill 44 was passed in the Legislative Assembly to amend the Smoke-free Places Act. Effective July 1, 2015, in addition to the previous rules, smoking and vaping are no longer permitted in many outdoor places.
- On patios where food and/or alcohol is served and within 3m from the patio boundary
- 9m from doorways, windows and air intakes of public buildings
- On outdoor playgrounds and within 20m of their perimeters (examples: slides, swings, climbing structures, splash pads, wading pools, sand boxes)
- On outdoor sports and recreational areas including spectator stands and within 20m of their perimeters (examples: tennis courts, baseball fields, soccer fields, swimming pools, beaches, skateboard parks, skating rinks)
- On public walking trails and within 9m of the trail
- In provincial parks (except in designated smoking areas, golf courses and on an occupied campsite)
The use of electronic cigarettes or water pipes is no longer permitted where smoking is not permitted.
The Smoke-Free Places Act was changed because:
- About 19% of New Brunswickers are smokers; one of the highest rates in Canada.
- Tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable death.
- About 37,000 Canadians die each year as a result of smoking tobacco.
- Tobacco use is a leading cause of many chronic diseases. These diseases are very costly to our health and to our health care system.
- It is our responsibility to create public places that protect people, especially children, from health risks.
- We need to ensure that children’s rights are protected by protecting them from all forms of harm. The changes will protect children by creating conditions that discourages tobacco use.
- By reducing the visibility of tobacco, it helps to create a tobacco-free culture as a way of life in New Brunswick.
- We want to help non-smokers stay smoke-free. We want to help people who quit smoking to stay tobacco-free and we want to support people who are trying to quit.
- These changes will help New Brunswickers live healthier lives.
On September 15, 2017, General Regulation 91-50 was amended under the Provincial Offences Procedures Act to strengthen the enforcement of the Smoke Free Places Act. The regulatory change allows peace officers and inspectors to issue tickets for smoking in public places.
The Smoke-free Places Act prohibits smoking:
- in enclosed public places;
- In indoor work spaces;
- In a public vehicle;
- In a vehicle while another person in the vehicle is under the age of 16;
- In a vehicle used in the course of employment while carrying two or more employees;
- on patios and all similar outdoor public facilities where food and/or alcohol is served and within three metres of the patio’s boundary;
- within nine metres of doorways, windows and air intakes of enclosed public places and indoor workplaces;
- on or within 20 metres of children’s equipment and sports areas located in an outdoor public place;
- on or within nine metres of a public walking or jogging trail in an outdoor public place;
- within the boundaries of provincial parks except within the boundaries of rented campsites, golf courses and designated areas within the park; and
- all regional health authority grounds.
The purpose of the Tobacco Sales Act is to reduce the number of youth accessing tobacco products by limiting the age of purchase to 19 years and above, as well as to de-normalize tobacco by prohibiting the display and advertisement of tobacco products.
On June 5, 2015, Bill 57 was passed in the Legislative Assembly to amend the Tobacco Sales Act. This Act is now called the Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sales Act and encompasses both tobacco and electronic cigarette products.
Effective July 1, 2015, some of the changes were as follows:
- The sale of e-cigarettes and e-juices to people under 19 years of age is not allowed and these products must be hidden from sight.
- Smoking supplies (rolling papers, blunt wraps, cigarette tubes and filters, cigarette holders and pipes) cannot be sold to people under 19 years of age or be placed on display.
- No one under the age of 19 may enter a vapour shop unless accompanied by an adult.
- Most requirements for posting health warning signage have been eliminated.
- Outdoor advertisement by tobacconists and vapour shops is not permitted and promotional material inside these shops must not be seen from the outside.
- Restrictions on promotional materials that presently apply to tobacco in other retail shops will now also apply to electronic cigarettes and smoking supplies.
Effective January 1, 2016, the sale of flavoured tobacco, including menthol, is not permitted in New Brunswick.
The Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sales Act was changed because:
- We need to protect youth from the harmful effects of using tobacco and from nicotine addiction.
- We need to protect people, especially youth, from products which are attractive to them and / or perceived as low health risks.
While the Department of Health oversees the administration of the Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sales Act, enforcement is the responsibility of the Department of Public Safety.