Tobacco & Smoking

Smoke Free Homes

There is no safe level of second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke is the smoke that is blown into the air, and the smoke that enters the air from the burning end of a cigarette. There are more than 7000 chemicals in second-hand smoke and more than 69 of these can cause cancer.

Protection from second hand smoke in the home setting is created through rules made by the home owner. If you live in a rented space then the landlord can determine whether smoking is allowed within the unit or not. This does not mean that landlords can reject an application or evict you simply because you smoke.

Who is affected by second-hand smoke in the home?

  • Second hand smoke can be inhaled by other people or pets and will stick to surfaces (this is known as third hand smoke).
  • In adults, second-hand smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer. It is also linked to breast cancer, stroke, nasal and sinus cancers and breathing problems, including asthma.
  • In children, second-hand smoke can cause ear infections and breathing problems. Second-hand smoke may also increase the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • In pregnant women, second-hand smoke is linked to miscarriage, stillbirths or giving birth to low birth weight babies.
  • In dogs and cats, second-hand smoke is linked to cancer and other health problems

If you live in a building with many units (multi-unit dwelling)

If your home is connected to others (apartments, townhouses, condominimum, etc) then you will be affected by your neighbours’ second hand smoke.

There are many ways that smoke gets into other people’s homes:

  • Through open doors and windows (from a patio or balcony)
  • Through outlets, cracks, gaps, cable or phone jacks, and ceiling fixtures
  • Through shared vents

How can I protect myself and those in my care?

  • Make a rule for your home that requires everybody to smoke outside.
  • The Smoke-Free Ontario Act bans smoking in enclosed areas that are used by everyone (lobbies, elevators, stairwells, hallways). This type of ban is enforced by health unit staff; contact us.
  • When picking a place to live, look for a building that has banned smoking and states it in the lease agreement. This type of ban is enforced by the landlord.
  • Talk to your landlord/owner/condo board about banning smoking in your building. If you want help with raising awareness contact us.
  • Get informed: Read about examples from across Ontario. Smoke-Free Housing Ontario
  • You have a right to ‘reasonable enjoyment’ of your home whether you own it or rent it. The Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board at 1-800-332-3234 or The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario 1-866-598-0322 or


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010). How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease. The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Diseases: A Report of the Surgeon General.


Ensuring that provincial tobacco and electronic cigarette (vaping) laws are followed is an important part of helping all of us lead healthier lives. Peterborough Public Health conducts ongoing inspections to make sure the Smoke-Free Ontario Act is followed in enclosed workplaces/public places and smoke-free outdoor spaces. Inspections are also done at places where tobacco/e-cigarettes are sold to keep them out of the hands of our youth.

Our goal is to ensure vendors comply with the Smoke-Free Ontario Act/Electronic Cigarette Act through education and regular inspections.

Our services are designed to seek compliance through education. This is done by working with tobacco vendors, vendors of related products and workplace managers and supervisors by providing information and support to help them fulfil their obligations under the Act.

The Tobacco Enforcement Unit can be contacted by calling 705-743-1000

Learn more about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act