Rhys Ifans caused a mid-air panic by appearing to smoke a cigarette on a plane.

The ‘Notting Hill’ actor was jetting from London to Los Angeles when he began puffing on the white stick - smoking on planes is banned - causing furious passengers to complain to staff.

The 41-year-old star caused further concern when he twisted the cigarette around and pressed the burning red ember into his lip - until staff realised it was a fake cigarette.

A source said: “He was sat in the first class area, and the passengers just looked on in amazement. One went to get the flight attendants.

“Rhys quite enjoyed all the fuss - especially when he was able to show he was actually puffing on a fake cigarette to help keep his cravings in check during the flight.”

Rhys was using a SmokeStik, a new invention which allows smokers to get their nicotine hit without having to puff on a cigarette.

The version Rhys was using, the SmokeStik Royale, was designed by socialite Lady Victoria Hervey and features her family’s crest.

Other fans of the invention include Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Hilton and Simon Cowell.