The prohibition on smoking tobacco and holding lit tobacco in any smoke-free place does not apply to:

  • An Indigenous person who smokes tobacco or holds lit tobacco for traditional Indigenous cultural or spiritual purposes
  • A non-Indigenous person who smokes tobacco or holds lit tobacco, if the activity is carried out with an Indigenous person for traditional Indigenous cultural or spiritual purposes

Indigenous residents of public hospitals, private hospitals, psychiatric facilities, long-term care homes, homes for special care, community homes for opportunity or independent health facilities have a right to request that the facility set aside an indoor area, separate from any other area where smoking is otherwise permitted (e.g., a controlled area), for the use of tobacco for traditional Indigenous cultural or spiritual purposes.

The prohibition against selling and supplying tobacco to a minor does not apply to a person who gives tobacco to an Indigenous person who is less than 19 years old or appears to be less than 25 years old, as the case may be, if the gift is made for traditional Indigenous cultural or spiritual purposes.

NOTE: This exemption does not apply to smoking cannabis (medical or recreational) or using an e-cigarette.

Penalties

A public hospital, private hospital, long-term care home, home for special care, community home for opportunity or independent health facility that does not comply with an Indigenous resident’s request for an indoor area to use tobacco for traditional Indigenous cultural or spiritual purposes may be charged with an offence. If convicted, they could be subject to a maximum fine of $4,000 (in the case of an individual) or $10,000 (in the case of a corporation).

Print the Traditional Use of Tobacco by Indigenous Persons Fact Sheet.