PLAY parks and district centres could be smoke-free, Swindon’s public health boss has said.

The areas would join the town centre bus station on the list of sites were smoking is banned.

It comes as a committee of MPs suggested rules on where e-cigarettes can be used should be relaxed. The House of Commons science and technology committee said vaping was less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Committee chairman Norman Lamb MP said e-cigarettes, which see users breathe in water vapour rather than smoke, could be a key weapon in the NHS's bid to stop people smoking.

At a borough scrutiny committee this week, Cherry Jones, the council’s public health director, said: “We have a smoke-free bus station. We’re looking now to have smoke free play parks and smoke free district centres in some of our new areas.”

Coun Brian Ford, lead member for adult social care, said he would be speaking to colleagues on the cabinet about using public space protection orders to ban cut down on smoking. The PSPOs ban certain behaviours from public areas like parks or shopping concourses.

Great Western Hospital will go completely smoke-free on January 1. Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, which runs Sandalwood Court in Stratton, issued a smoking ban across its sites last November.

Official figures suggest 17.3 per cent of adults in Swindon smoke, with an estimated 7,000 fewer smokers in the town last year compared to 2011. Last year, the NHS in Swindon supported 340 smokers to quit.