Harsher anti-smoking laws have banned smokers from lighting up at Hills bus stops, taxi ranks and outside public buildings.
THE sweeping changes also outlaw smoking near playgrounds, sporting fields and swimming pools — areas already covered by The Hills Council's smoke-free policy.
But critics say more could be done to protect the community from tobacco smoke.
Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott said the amendments to the Smoke-free Environment Act are key measures in reducing community exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, tobacco-related harm and the uptake of smoking.
About 44,000 people are hospitalised and 5200 people die each year from smoking-related illnesses costing the state $8 billion.
Legislation to ban smoking in outdoor dining areas and gaming areas has been postponed until July 2015 — a policy that is already in place in some outdoor dining areas in The Hills.
In 2011 the council voted to ban smoking from open-air dining areas on Old Northern Road in Castle Hill between Showground and Crane roads.
The policy also applies to side passages and laneways within 10 metres of the main street footpath.
Hills mayor Michelle Byrne, whose scientific career involved researching cancer, said any measures that reduce the public's exposure to cancer-causing chemicals was positive.
"It is important that we protect the health of our community not only through these sorts of measures but also by encouraging our residents to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle," Cr Byrne said.
But the Asthma Foundation's Michele Goldman said there was still some way to go.
"Councils have the power to offer various incentives to cafes and restaurant owners to go smoke-free before 2015," Ms Goldman said.
She said another two years was too long for diners to wait for smoke-free outdoor dining and councils should promote the commercial and social benefits of going smoke-free sooner.
Do you think the new anti-smoking laws go far enough to protect the community from second-hand smoke? Let us know below.