Gandalf To Go On Patches If Smoking Is Rated 18?

Films featuring characters who smoke could soon be rated 18, placing fags on a par with sex and violence.

Anti-smoking groups have suggested that smoking in films could be glamourising the unhealthy habit and should be treated as a serious threat to children’s health.

Anti-smoking group Ash are in favour of the changes, with chief executive Deborah Arnott saying: “Smoking in films encourages children to take up smoking. And that’s no surprise.

“That is why tobacco advertising was banned, because showing images of people, particularly glamorous young people, smoking encourages children to smoke.”

But with characters such as Cruella DeVil and pipe-puffer, Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, enjoying the occasional nicotine hit, a new ruling could change the face of children’s classics as we know them.

Classifiers say it is a matter of proportion. David Cooke, head of the British Board of Film Classification, said: “There is material in some films that glamorises smoking and that is one of the things we look out for as a classification issue.

“Smoking is an issue, but it is not just a concern for film, but TV as well as the internet, publishing, newspapers, magazines – you have to take a look at other types of misuse across a whole.”

Perhaps Peter Jackson will consider a fourth LOTR instalment where Gandalf fights his addiction using patches made from troll hide and elf saliva.