May 26, 2015 – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care – Today, the Ontario government passed the Making Healthier Choices Act, which will help families make healthier food choices by giving them caloric information when eating out or purchasing take-away meals. The act will also protect youth from the dangers of tobacco and the potential harms of electronic cigarettes, known as e-cigarettes.
As part of the government’s commitment to achieve the lowest smoking rate in Canada, the new legislation will:
- Increase the maximum fines for those who sell tobacco to youth, making Ontario’s maximum fines the highest in Canada
- Ban the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19
- Ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products, with a temporary exemption for menthol flavoured products.
The new legislation will also make it illegal to:
- Use e-cigarettes in designated non-smoking areas
- Sell e-cigarettes in certain places where the sale of tobacco is prohibited
- Display e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes are sold, or offered for sale
- Promote e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes or tobacco products are sold, or offered for sale.
To make it easier for families to make informed and healthy food choices, the new legislation will:
- Require restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores and other food service premises with 20 or more locations in Ontario who sell ready-to-eat and prepared food to post calories for standard food and beverage items, including alcohol, on menus and menu boards
- Require regulated food service operators to post contextual information to help educate patrons about their daily caloric requirements
- Authorize the minister to appoint inspectors to enforce menu labelling requirements.
Providing Ontarians with caloric information, and protecting youth from the dangers of tobacco and the potential harm of e-cigarettes is part of the government’s plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to live healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come.
- Each year, tobacco claims 13,000 lives in Ontario – equivalent to 36 lives every day.
- One in four Ontario high school smokers have smoked menthol cigarettes in the last 30 days (Canada’s 2012-13 Youth Smoking Survey).
- Over 60 per cent of large chain restaurants with more than 20 locations in Ontario already provide nutritional information voluntarily to their customers (upon demand, on websites or in store).
- According to a 2011 Ipsos Reid study, approximately 95 per cent of Ontarians support requiring fast food restaurants to list nutrition information on their menus.