Smoking now banned in GN-owned housing

New regulation among several included in new tobacco, cannabis and vaping law

Updated territorial smoking laws come into effect Wednesday. It’s now illegal to smoke in public and GN-owned housing. The smoking rate in Nunavut is 74 per cent, four times than the national rate, GN spokesperson Fellen Atienza told Nunatsiaq News. (File photo)

By David Lochead

As of Wednesday, people in Nunavut’s public and staff housing are no longer allowed to smoke inside their homes.

That’s one change in the territorial government’s updated smoking, vaping and cannabis law that has just come into effect.

New regulations also include the prohibition of smoking in hospitals and schools, sidewalks and trails, sports fields, in the car when a child is present, and at public events.

“These new laws acknowledge the negative health impacts from tobacco and cannabis products,” said Health Minister John Main in a statement.

The smoking rate in Nunavut is 74 per cent, which is four times the national average, according to Fellen Atienza, spokesperson for the Department of Health.

Atienza said the government did hear some complaints about the new regulations extending to GN-owned housing units.

“We just wanted to protect people, especially around environmental smoke,” she said.

In response to the updated laws, Nunavut Employees Union president Jason Rochon, whose union represents GN workers, said the union “supports all health and safety efforts at the territorial or municipal level.”

There is also now a prohibition on the sale of flavoured tobacco and vapour products in Nunavut.

Vaping is done using an electronic cigarette that holds nicotine and flavouring.

“It’s not as big a problem [in Nunavut], but we wanted to get ahead of it,” said Atienza.

Other provinces in Canada have also created vaping laws. Selling flavoured tobacco is prohibited in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories.

New federal rules incoming

The federal government is also pushing more regulations on smoking in an effort to get Canadians to curb the habit.

The federal government will soon require individual cigarettes to be labelled with health warnings, Health Canada announced Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Health Canada)

The federal government announced Wednesday that Canada will be the first country in the world to print health warnings on individual cigarettes.

Up to three-quarters of cigarette packages will have photo warnings of the health-related damage caused by smoking as well.

The new federal regulations will start Aug. 1 and be phased in over a three-year period.

Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of death in Canada, killing 48,000 Canadians a year, the federal government stated in a news release.

Smoking is also linked to more than 40 diseases and conditions, with many poor health effects being reversed or reduced if one quits using tobacco.

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(34) Comments:

  1. Posted by Aumalattilanga! on

    This is great. I recall the drive to stop smoking in homes during the 90’s? Which helped in getting the cigarette smoke out of a lot of homes. Nunavummiut need to quick this sickening habit and try and live a healthier life! Imagine the extra money people would have if they didn’t smoke?

  2. Posted by Iqalummiut on

    Raise taxes on tobacco by 300% and put the money towards smoking cessation tools. Enact smoking bylaws that can be enforced by MEOs. Large fines for any business owner that allows smoking at their main entrances.

    • Posted by 867 on

      Lotta people already buying cheap (and illegal) rezzie smokes online for 10 bucks a pack so increasing the tax will just pit more money in the pockets of organized crime

      • Posted by What can you do on

        We’re switching to edibles because of this change and since the regulations for edible cannabis are so unreasonable we’ve simply reverted back to the black market dispensary we used before weed was legalized.

        It’s looking like a good change too. Stronger edibles and cheaper weed that wasn’t packaged six months ago.

  3. Posted by Hunter on

    And how does the government plan on enforcing this new legislation?

    It is all great they are doing this but what financial resources are they putting behind this? Policy Regulations, Enforcement, Penalties, etc.

    Nunatsiaq News you need to ask questions on all of this the public need to be informed as it affects 85% of all residential dwellings in Nunavut

    • Posted by nothing on

      This morning on CBC a housing person was asked what the penalty will be for people smoking the answer had no teeth. Nothing was the response. What a waste of time

  4. Posted by Northener on

    24 hour notice before entering my unit, and I will be sure to have my cigarette out by then.

    • Posted by Northern Inuit on

      Newsflash. It’s not your unit. NHC owns it. If you want to smoke that nasty stuff, buy your home

    • Posted by sure on

      Also think about the babies and kids in your house. I know people that “stop” smoking dope when pregnant, however they live in a house that is hot boxed ALL the time. and look at their kids, it shows they have been impacted by it.

      Even if NHC has nothing they can actually do, hopefully it will give a few more households the courage to tell people not to smoke in the house. which will help the kids that have not been born yet.

      • Posted by What can you do on

        I’ve never smoked in my own home, but now I can’t even do it on the balcony.

        I’m obviously in the minority as an opponent of this policy so it is what it is; life will go on.

        Now instead of buying legal bud in Iqaluit I’ll buy illegal edibles from a black market dispensary in Toronto. I’d rather support a local business and keep my lifestyle within the bounds of the law, but only within reason. In the end this isn’t going to stop people from smelling smoke … my parking spot (where I smoke now) isn’t nine meters from the second floor apartments or their various vents, but it will save me money and improve my respiratory health. So I’m not going to get too bent out of shape over some light virtue signaling.

  5. Posted by John K on

    Apparently not even on your balcony.

    I’d bet a pack of Du Maurier that housing gets a bunch of complaints now because people are going to track the smell of weed and cigarettes back through the hallways and elevators when they come back inside. I wonder, will there be more terminations because people keep smoking on their balconies? Or will more people quit because now they can’t even enjoy their own home on top of all the other problems there?

    Pointless virtue signaling so people in comfy jobs can pat themselves on the back and slap this pretty policy win on their resumes before they move back to Nova Scotia.

    • Posted by Or maybe… on

      People really don’t like second hand smoke wafting into their apartments? It smells awful and might cause health problems over the long term.

    • Posted by Your smoke stinks on

      An unusually bad take from you, John

      • Posted by John K on


        It would suck to see this add to Nunavut’s already significant retention crisis. I knew a lot of people on their last straws before we bailed. It won’t take much to see them leave too.

      • Posted by John K on

        Also, for the record. I quit drinking, smoking and gambling almost 15 years ago.

        I’ve just been around enough to know an empty policy when I see one and when ineffectual bureaucrats are angling to pretend they’ve accomplished something.

        This website is a great source of reminders why I’m better off making $35,000 less down here.

    • Posted by What can you do on

      Not really a big deal.

      I wish I could get reasonably strong edibles here but the illegal dispensary I used to use still sells the bars I like.

    • Posted by What can you do on

      I just got home and my hallway smells so strongly of weed that it grossed me out and I’m a daily smoker.

  6. Posted by 867 on

    When you see the same people who haven’t paid their $70 rent in years buying $30 packs at the northmart, it is safe to say they couldn’t care less about this unenforceable “new legislation”

    • Posted by John K on

      I bet it looks nice on a resume though!

  7. Posted by 9 Meters = 27 Feet on

    Keep in mind, folks that you have to be 9 meters from a GN-owned building to smoke now. That means, if you’re lucky, you can stand in the middle of the road to have a little puff puff pass.

    I measured our area out of boredom and we have to walk over 500 meters to be in a spot that we could smoke.

    Who is going to enforce this?

    • Posted by What can you do on

      “Who is going to enforce this?”

      Bored neighbours.

  8. Posted by hahahahaha on

    How many people were fined for covid violations? Zero. And they plan to enforce this? I hate smoke trust me. My building prohibits it anyway. No one cares when you complain.

  9. Posted by Nunavumiuq on

    Maybe it would help so much if the Municipality put out Ashtrays and mount them onto the walls outside especially around the public places.

    In Edmonton Alberta they have ashtrays all over the city and it is so clean. There is signs all over saying NO SMOKING IN CERTIN METERS and if you get caught smoking or butting it on the ground, you get a hefty fine. Maybe this needs to be put in place as half of the Nunavut population smokes.
    Save our young children and help each other to QUIT that expensive bad useless HABBIT.

    Name withheld

    • Posted by What can you do on

      I hadn’t even considered that.

      Remember when they picked up 56 KILOGRAMS of cigarette butts in Igloolik?

  10. Posted by Mass Formation on

    This sudden (cough, cough) for “health” hard push to make evil vaping nicotine, started 3 years ago. Governments around the world joined in as following clocks, ticking quietly, nothing to see here.

    Reduced the Nicotine per cigarette and quietly pushed the nicotine patches and gum to behind the counter to hide benefits?

  11. Posted by Oscar on

    This new law was developed due to reasons around health. In the older multi plex units, cross contamination of cigarette smoke, weed, and general air movement, etc. was flowing into other units which nonsmokers didn’t like. Also, smoking in a unit causes the walls/ceiling to turn yellow which causes extra work for maintenance crews to repaint over. I own my property and I have always smoked (cigs) outside anyways, so I have FREEDOM. So is NHC going to hire a Smoke Cop to enforce this law onto public and GN tenants LOL.

  12. Posted by Anaanamous on

    Just curious
    Can we stop ppl from drinking at their places when their units are badly damaged from all the partying? We’re already suffering shivering outside smoking. It’s our choice to smoke. Not yours. Just like you choose to drink, drive a vehicle, buy junk food, same habits just different ways of relief. I smoke. More now than ever. But it takes the stress away. Don’t bash me about the health effects of smoking. I see it everyday on the pack.
    Puff, puff, don’t pass. Inflation right. Lol

    • Posted by What can you do on

      That won’t happen, it would require too much work.

      They know that with smoking they can rely on people’s neighbour’s to inform on them. Fewer people are willing to call out on drunkenness because of the significantly higher risk of violence and retribution from heavy drinkers. NHC would have to implement a policy with teeth and hire people with the capacity to carry out and enforce said policy.

      We can’t even retain plumbers and call center agents let alone bylaw officers to confront angry drunks.

  13. Posted by Thomas Shelby on

    So I smoke, only outside away from people. Anyone with a brain wouldn’t smoke inside where children are, but then again, I did see a pregnant girl smoking the other day at the boarding home, she was probably ready to give birth but she was probably stressed so she needed a smoke.

  14. Posted by Hashthis on

    Unfortunately no smoke cops around , have a blast while summer time then back indoors soon as the ice freezes outside. It will never work keep in mind we are all in the middle of nowhere in canada too.

  15. Posted by Think About It on

    As someone who was a maintainer in some of these houses, you were likely to see three things. There was always a broken window, the heat was turned way up, and there was smoking in the house/unit. You are more likely to see a unicorn then to see these rules enforced.
    This is NHC saying, see we care about your health; if they really cared they would clean up the mould, and fix the windows and regulate the heat in these units.

    • Posted by You think about it on

      Shouldn’t regulating the heat , and fixing the windows fall under a maintainers responsibilities ? isn’t that the purpose of a maintainer ?? to maintain the units .

    • Posted by sure on

      how would they ‘regulate’ the heat? have it auto set? there would be as much complaining that they cant smoke in the units…. if not more, many people like living in a house that is 25C all the time, while there are others who like it cooler.
      Who gets to choose the temp?

      • Posted by You think about it on

        Teach the tenants how the heating systems operate . example …. most units have an HRV that normally turned off because tenants don’t understand how they work , windows left open but the thermostat is set to the maximum temperature , ventilation systems that aren’t properly maintained in the mechanical rooms create a lack of air flow which creates higher temperatures in the building .

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