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British TV Snuffs Out Cartoon Smokers

A British TV channel is snuffing out smoking from classic children's cartoons after a viewer complaint about episodes of "Tom and Jerry."

Children's channel Boomerang said Tuesday it had cut scenes from two episodes of the violent cat-and-mouse cartoon "where smoking could be deemed to be glamorized."

"We have now pledged to view Boomerang's entire library of favorite cartoons and remove all other references that could be seen as glamorizing smoking in all our shows," said Cecilia Persson, vice president of programming, acquisitions and presentation for Boomerang's parent, Turner Broadcasting UK.

Turner said the decision applied only to Boomerang's output in Britain, which includes "The Flintstones," "The Jetsons" and "Scooby-Doo."

British TV regulator Ofcom said Monday that one viewer had complained about two "Tom and Jerry" cartoons — each more than 50 years old. In "Texas Tom," Tom tries to impress a female cat by rolling and smoking a cigarette with one hand. In "Tennis Chumps," Tom's opponent is seen smoking a cigar.

Ofcom said it welcomed the broadcaster's decision to remove scenes "where smoking appeared to be condoned, acceptable, glamorized or where it might encourage imitation." Britain's broadcasting code says smoking should not be featured in programs aimed at children "unless there is strong editorial justification."

The pro-smoking group Forest described the move as "totally absurd."