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Frequently Asked Questions

Peel Waterpipe Smoking By-law (30-2016)

1. When does the Peel Waterpipe Smoking By-law come into effect?

The by-law will come into effect starting November 1, 2016 in the Region of Peel (Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga).

2. What are the associated fines for non-compliance of the Peel Waterpipe Smoking by-law?

The by-law will be enforced by Region of Peel Public Health Inspectors:

  • The fine for someone found guilty of non-compliance under the by-law can range from $250 to $25,000.
  • The fine for a corporation found guilty of non-compliance under the by-law can range from $250 to $50,000.

3. How can I report non-compliance of the by-law?

  • You can report non-compliance or suspicions of non-compliance by calling Peel Public Health at 905-799-7770 or by sending an e-mail to
  • The identity of individual(s) that report non-compliance or suspicions of non-compliance will be kept confidential.

4. Why is Peel Public Health restricting where waterpipes can be smoked?

  • The by-law protects residents and visitors to Peel from the negative health effects associated with second-hand smoke.
  • The popularity of waterpipe smoking threatens Peel’s aim to create smoke-free spaces and reduce smoking rates.

5. What is known about the use of waterpipes in the Region of Peel?

  • Approximately 11% of Peel students in Grades 7 to 12 reported having used waterpipe or hookah at least once in the last 12 months. This represents approximately 12,500 students. [Source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Ontario Student Health and Drug Use Survey. 2013].
  • Since 2009, there has been an increase in the number of restaurants, cafes, and lounges that offer waterpipe smoking in Peel, particularly in Mississauga.

6. How are other jurisdictions and countries regulating waterpipe smoking?

Many areas in Canada restrict waterpipe smoking in public areas to address the health risks, including:

  • Seven municipalities in Ontario (Toronto, Ottawa, Barrie, Bradford-West Gwillimbury, Orillia, Peterborough, and Chatham-Kent)
  • Several municipalities in British Columbia and Alberta and the provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.
  • In countries where waterpipe smoking was historically part of the culture, legislators acknowledged the health risks of waterpipe use and have restricted waterpipe smoking, including:
    • United Arab Emirates (tobacco)
    • Turkey (tobacco and non-tobacco substances)
    • Syria (tobacco); Lebanon (tobacco and non-tobacco)
    • Jordan (tobacco)
    • Saudi Arabia (tobacco)
    • Oman (tobacco)
    • Egypt (tobacco)

[Source: Ng M. Updated environmental scan of (waterpipe-related) smoking policies of middle eastern countries. Region of Peel, 2016]

7. What are the health risks for waterpipe smoking?

  • Traditional tobacco waterpipe smoking may be associated with lung cancer, respiratory illness, reduced lung function, dental disease and negative pregnancy outcomes, including infants with low birth weight.
  • Non-tobacco (herbal) waterpipe smoking can have negative health effects, such as harmful effects on lung cells and carbon monoxide exposure. It can also negatively affect indoor air quality for indicators including carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter.

[Source: Ghai K, Brown K. Health effects from the use of, and exposure to, tobacco and non-tobacco waterpipes. Region of Peel, 2015; Babra B, Brown K. Briefing note: air quality impacts of non-tobacco waterpipe smoke. Region of Peel, 2015; Ghai K. Briefing note: health effects from the use of, and exposure to, non-tobacco waterpipes: a summary of three single studies. Region of Peel, 2015]

8. Is non-tobacco waterpipe smoking as bad as tobacco waterpipe smoking?

  • The research on the health effects of waterpipe smoking is still emerging and not as comprehensive as the health effects of cigarette smoking.
  • Available evidence shows that non-tobacco waterpipes pose health risks to both the user and to those exposed to the second-hand smoke.
  • Non-tobacco waterpipe smoking negatively impacts air quality. The water in the pipe does not filter out the harmful components of the smoke.

9. Isn’t it just vapour that comes out of the waterpipe?

Waterpipes generate smoke, which is usually produced by the burning of charcoal used to heat the shisha. This smoke has been found to contain high levels of toxicants, carbon monoxide, metals and fine particulate matter.

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