A council could become the first in Britain to give any film which features smoking an 18 certificate in a bid to tackle addiction.
Officials in Plymouth, Devon, want to prevent children viewing movies which show actors using cigarettes.
The local authority has the power to change certificates for films shown in its boundaries and say the move would help its anti-smoking plans.
NHS Figures for Plymouth show 27 per cent of adults smoke compared to the national figure of 21 per cent – and 63 per cent of children are smoking by the age of 16
But in more deprived areas up to 54 per cent of adults smoke – more than twice the national average.
Officials now want the city to become the first in Britain to force its cinemas to impose an 18 certificates on any films which feature smoking.
Russ Moody, manager of Plymouth NHS Stop Smoking Service, said: ”This is about shaping the culture that surrounds the use of tobacco.
”Once people understand why we are doing it – to protect young people and highlight the dangers associated with smoking – on the whole, most people are compliant.
”The driving force behind the long-term strategy is protection of young people.
”’Whether we go down the legislation route or not, we want there to be public health campaigns and health education campaigns to try and move public perception and acceptance of smoking.”
The plans have been laid out in the city’s Tobacco Control Strategy 2010 to 2020 – a joint scheme between the NHS and the council.
Other proposals include giving out nicotine patches in schools, introducing blanket bans at outdoor public events and banning smoking in cars with children.