Illawarra playgrounds, bus stops, sporting fields and public pools will be smoke-free zones from today, as new state government smoking bans come into force.
For Brisbane mother Melissa Hughes, news of the NSW restrictions was a breath of fresh air.
Ms Hughes and her family visit Wollongong for Christmas each year and she said it was comforting to know her sons - Benjamin, 5, Jackson, 3, and Flynn, 10 months - were less likely to be exposed to second-hand smoke as they enjoyed playing at public pools and playgrounds.
"It's awful when I have to walk through a puff of smoke with my kids so I like the idea that now we can sit near a playground and people are not allowed to smoke near them," she said.
The legislation means smoking within 10 metres of playgrounds, at sporting fields, on hospital grounds, at bus and taxi stops and within four metres from doorways of public buildings is banned.
The restrictions will be extended to outdoor dining areas of licensed premises from July 2015.
Keiraville's Stephanie Grundy said the new laws would benefit smokers as well as non-smokers.
"I'm a smoker and I'm trying so hard to quit, but when someone lights up next to you in public it just makes you want to smoke," she said.
"Some people will find it hard to stop smoking in these areas, but it's going to be better for everyone else."
Wollongong councillor George Takacs, who has been behind Wollongong City Council's push to ban smoking at the mall by the end of this year, said he was pleased to see all levels of government working together against smoking.
"It's very good timing, because we've had the federal government measures on plain packaging and now we've got this state government measure and then our council measure will come in," Mr Takacs said.
He wondered if the mall ban should have been implemented earlier.