Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery says the era of being allowed to light up in public is coming to an end for Wollongong residents.
"The time of smoking is over, especially in public spaces," Mr Bradbery said.
"I believe that smoking is the most deleterious thing for our health besides alcohol ... and when it comes to our health, the cost of smoking - as individuals and on the public purse - is a big issue."
These comments come as Wollongong City Council today calls for feedback on its plan to ban smoking in Crown Street Mall and the city's outdoor dining areas from next year.
This ban will be an extension of separate NSW government laws, which will restrict smoking within four metres of entrances to all buildings and offices with public access from January.
The government will also ban smoking in outdoor dining areas by July 2015.
The council has proposed to increase these restrictions, making all areas of the mall smoke free and bringing the outdoor dining ban forward by 2½ years.
Outdoor eateries in Wollongong would be smoke free by January and the Crown Street Mall ban would come into effect once the mall refurbishments are completed in 2014.
Mr Bradbery said the proposed regulations marked a new era.
"The point of this whole exercise is to indicate to the community that the time is fast coming when smoking won't be tolerated in public spaces," Mr Bradbery said.
"After it is refurbished, the mall will be a new space and it will also be a place where certain sorts of behaviour will not be acceptable and smoking is one of those issues."
Councillor George Takacs, who requested the council look into the effects of banning smoking in March, said smokers would be the main beneficiaries of the council's plan.
"Restricting the opportunities for people to smoke is very important in reducing the rates of smoking," Mr Takacs said. "I'm an ex-smoker and I know it was easier for me to give up smoking when they banned smoking in the buildings I worked in."
Mr Takacs said community feedback would be collected until October 31 to iron out any problems with implementing a ban.
"We want to know what ways it will affect people's behaviour if there is a smoking ban - will it make them less likely to come in to the mall or Wollongong CBD for shopping, and also what advantages they might see in having a ban," he said.
Council staff will hold lunchtime information stalls in Crown Street Mall from today until Saturday.
Residents are also invited to submit feedback through an online discussion board on the council's website.