Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of preventable illness and death. Each year in this province, more than 1,700 people die from smoking related illness and 200 more die from exposure to second-hand smoke. Smoking harms people of all ages including unborn babies, infants, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors.

Nova Scotia’s strategy to reduce smoking rates includes strong smoke-free places legislation, higher tobacco prices, a ban on promotion or advertising at point of sale, and helping people quit or reduce smoking.

Health risks of smoking

The health risks of smoking are well-known. Smoking tobacco is related to more than 20 diseases and conditions. This includes lung cancer, throat cancer and other forms of cancer, respiratory diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis, cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes, and impotence.

There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. When you breathe in second-hand smoke, you inhale nicotine, carcinogens, and toxic chemicals.


There are two pieces of legislation in Nova Scotia regulating tobacco – the Smoke-free Places Act and the Tobacco Access Act. The Department of Environment is responsible for enforcing tobacco control.

The Tobacco Access Act regulates how and to whom tobacco products can be sold. Restrictions for venders under the Act include:

  • no selling to minors (youth under 19)
  • keeping products out of view unless the store sells only those products and minors are not permitted entry
  • no sale of most flavoured tobacco
  • no point-of-sale promotion
  • no signage or advertising outside the store

The consumption of combustible products, including tobacco, cannabis, e-cigarettes, and waterpipes, is regulated by the Smoke-free Places Act.


To make a complaint about a suspected infraction of the Tobacco Access Act or the Smoke-free Places Act, contact the Department of Environment at 1-877-936-8476 or fill out our online form.

Additional resources