Councillors overwhelmingly backed a smoke-free CBD motion at Shoalhaven City Council's ordinary meeting on Tuesday, October 29.
They heard an appeal from Andy Mark, a representative from the Heart Foundation, on why they should consider the proposal for Nowra.
The council passed a motion to undertake public consultation on a smoke-free Nowra CBD and to receive a report on the costs involved. Twelve of 13 councillors voted in favour of it.
Andy Mark said that Tamworth and North Sydney Council, the only areas to have implemented such bans, "both enjoy strong public support and favourable media coverage".
"I'm asking Shoalhaven Council to take the lead again and vote in favour of this motion," Mr Mark said.
Councillor Annette Alldrick said there was a strong health imperative for the proposal.
"It's very well documented, passive smoking is extremely dangerous. Why can't we go into the CBD and not inhale other people's cigarette smoke?" Cr Alldrick said.
Cr Mitchel Pakes was also supportive although wanted a final decision made on the night.
"I support it completely... I don't care if you smoke but when it affects me, that's when I get a little bit annoyed," Cr Pakes said.
"I would like to make the decision tonight."
A poll we conducted of 151 readers showed 62 per cent were in favour of a smoking ban in the Nowra CBD, 37 per cent were opposed and one per cent were unsure.
Shoalhaven Business Chamber President Jemma Tribe thought the proposal was a great idea.
"The chamber obviously wants people to find shopping in the CBD a pleasant experience," Ms Tribe said.
"There's nothing worse than being unable to avoid smoke when you're trying to make your way around town."
Ms Tribe said smoking in the Nowra CBD had a direct impact on businesses.
"Some shop owners I've spoken to who leave their door open through the day or have display items outside, have said heavy smoke on the street has sometimes damaged stock," she said.
"It's particularly problematic for shop owners who have a bench seat outside their door that might attract smokers."