Tom & Jerry quit smoking
Smoking scenes are to be edited out of classic Tom & Jerry cartoons, following a complaint to the broadcast regulator that they are inappropriate for a show aimed at children.
The complaint was about two separate cartoons - Texas Tom and Tennis Chumps - transmitted repeatedly this year on Turner Broadcasting's children's channel, Boomerang.
Boomerang's audience is largely made up of children - 56% are aged four to 14 years old.
In Texas Tom, Tom tries to impress a female cat by making a roll-up cigarette, lighting and smoking it with just one hand, while Tennis Chumps sees Tom's opponent in a match smoking a large cigar.
Following the complaint, Turner conducted a review of the Tom & Jerry library to assess the incidence of smoking and the context in which smoking scenes appear.
Turner then proposed to Ofcom it should edit out any scenes or references in Tom & Jerry in which smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable or glamorised or where it might encourage imitation - such as in Texas Tom where Tom uses smoking to try to impress.
However, Turner believed that editing out all references to smoking might adversely affect the "value of the animation".
Ofcom's broadcast code states that smoking must not be featured in programmes made primarily for children unless there is strong editorial justification; and it must not be condoned, encouraged or glamorised before the watershed.
The regulator recognised the cartoons were made from the 1940s through to the 1960s when smoking was considered more acceptable.
Ofcom also noted that in Tom & Jerry, smoking usually appears "in a stylised manner and is frequently not condoned".
The regulator welcomed Turner's "precautionary approach" and review of the archive material.
However, the regulator said in future it would look at all such cases individually and that "the level of editorial justification required for the inclusion of smoking in such cartoons is necessarily high".
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