Reported municipal costs from outdoor smoke-free by-laws-experience from Ontario, Canada

Ryan David Kennedy, Dana Zummach, Stephanie Filsinger, Scott T. Leatherdale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In 2006, enclosed public and workplaces in Ontario were made smoke-free by the Smoke-free Ontario Act (SFOA). Numerous area municipalities across the province have since developed local by-laws that are more restrictive than the SFOA and ban smoking in outdoor environments including parks, beaches, and patios. The current study measured reported costs associated with the implementation and enforcement of smoke-free outdoor municipal by-laws including materials and staffing costs. The study also assessed the number of warnings or tickets issued to smokers. Ontario communities with a by-law in force for at least 2 years were included in the sample (n = 42). The study was completed by 88% of area municipalities (n = 37). Municipal staff and managers completed a survey by telephone between June-September 2012. Findings. No area municipality surveyed reported that they hired additional enforcement staff as a result of their community's smoke-free by-law. Most municipalities (95%) posted signage to support awareness of their by-law; signs costs ranged from $40- $150/sign with most municipalities reporting signs were made in-house. Most communities reported actively enforcing the by-law; six communities reported they had issued tickets to people not in compliance with outdoor smoking restrictions. Conclusions: The implementation, promotion, and enforcement of outdoor smoke-free by-laws have required municipal staff time and in most cases have promotional costs, but these have come from existing budgets and using existing staff. Outdoor smoke-free by-laws have not created significant burdens on municipal enforcement staff or on municipal budgets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4
JournalTobacco Induced Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 28 2014


  • Economic impact
  • Municipal by-law
  • Outdoor smoking
  • Policy evaluation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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