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Censors come off as pretty lax when it comes to anything that isn't excessively gruesome or explicit. One notable exception is broadcasters seeming squeamish about showing under-age characters smoking tobacco (even delinquents) especially if the show is aimed at a school-age audience. Occasionally this is changed to chewing something.
One anecdote claims that only R.A.T.s (Russians, Arabs and Terrorists) are permitted to smoke in Hollywood movies. Some extend this to the French as well (R.A.F.T.s). In short, exotic villains are allowed to smoke.
Modern U.S. law dictates in what instances cigarette smoking may appear, coming down hardest on animation or other programming intended for minors. For versions meant for broadcast before the Watershed in the U.S., this trope is mandated. This can also mean that DVD versions culled straight from the broadcast version also have this trope in effect. Strangely, the law is more vague on cigar and pipe smoking; how much those are edited can vary.
Anime and Manga
- Camo the ermine in Mahou Sensei Negima occasionally takes a drag from a cigarette as a visual gag. In the anime, they are all inexplicably labeled "chocolate", though this label is removed in the DVD release.
- In the Ichigo Mashimaro manga, Nobue is 16 years old. Her age is inexplicably given as 20 for the anime, likely to give her otherwise identical TV incarnation permission to smoke on screen.
- In Love Hina, Haruka is never without what seems to be a cigarette in her mouth, but never actually seems to smoke it.
- In the TV series of Cromartie High School, the cigarettes smoked by the teenage characters are changed to pastel-colored sticks with blobs of CG dancing on the end or marshmallows burning at the ends of sticks. The one exception to this is Masked Takenouchi, who is actually in his 30s.
- Madoka Ayukawa in Kimagure Orange Road is shown smoking early in the series, but eventually quits after being upbraided about it repeatedly by Kyosuke. And early on Kyosuke uses his secret telekinesis to ruin a cigarette Madoka's about to smoke.
- In the anime version of Yu Yu Hakusho, Yusuke Urameshi still skips school, has bad grades and gets into a lot of fights. But unlike in the manga, he doesn't smoke, drink or gamble (or at least is never seen doing these things). In both manga and anime, he wins a fight in pitch darkness by sneaking a cigarette onto his enemy's belt and aiming for it with his Spirit Gun; it's his cigarette in the manga and Old Master Genkai's in the anime.
- One other instance of censorship is in Episode 5/Chapter 17. In the manga, a gang leader who is blackmailing Kuwabara with threats to harm a kitten threatens to put out its eye with his lit cigarette. In the anime, he threatens to kill it with a broken bottle.
- In the manga when Yusuke starts back trackking through his day we see him smoking on the roof and later he lights up when leaving school grounds. These instances are replaced by him eating some sort of chip snack.
- While Sanji still smokes in the original anime of One Piece, it's only mentioned in the manga that he started at the age of 10. Additionally, the anime changes his official age from 19 to 20, which is what the network defines as an "adult". The 4Kids dub infamously changed it to a lollipop, which lead the joke that it was a "nicotine lollipop" due to the voice actor sounding like someone who smoked and was in his forties. One Flash animation parodies this--Sanji takes his lollipop out of his mouth to reveal copious amounts of smoke leaking from it. Meanwhile, the broadcast version of the Funimation dub just removed it and it's still there on the DVD.
- Then there's what they did to Captain
Smoker'Chaser', who had all of his cigars digitally removed despite originally carrying so many that it looked like he had cigar ammo belts.
- Then there's what they did to Captain
- Cartoon Network's airing of the Blue Submarine No. 6 OVA featured some of the more bizarre examples of this practice. At different times, censors either replaced protagonist Tetsu Hayami's cigarettes with more innocuous objects or removed them completely. This resulted in a scene in which he discards a toothpick, steps on it, then immediately reaches into his jacket for another, and several in which tufts of smoke spontaneously appear several inches in front of his face.
- 27-year-old Shigure in Fruits Basket is shown to smoke, though in the TV show one of the eye catches reminds viewers "No smoking until you're 18!" Hatori is shown smoking often as well.
- In the Katekyo Hitman Reborn! manga, 15-year-old Gokudera is occasionally seen with cigarettes, and even uses them to light the fuses on his dynamite. Since the anime adaptation was to be aired at a time most younger viewers would catch it, this was written out entirely; as for the dynamite, it now lights itself.
- The manga version of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo had a living box of cigarettes with living cigarettes living inside of him as a minion for "boss character" Purupuu. (coincidentally, his name is the Japanese way of saying "No Smoking") The anime was forced to change him into a box of chocolate sticks.
- The manga and anime Akira features delinquent kids who drink alcohol, take amphetamines, get into fights, have sex, ride motorcycles and wield massive guns, but for whatever reason, none of them smoke.
- A 16-year-old Shikamaru from Naruto (temporarily) picks up smoking in the manga in memory of Asuma, even though he expresses that he doesn't even like it. However, in the anime he doesn't and the scene where he throws a lit cigarette to light the explosive tags around Hidan is changed to him throwing the lighter he used in the manga.
- It's worth noting that Asuma's smoking on the Cartoon Network broadcast was subject to a weird rule about smoking on TV: the cigarette is still there it's just not lit. This appears to be a common rule, though it's usually just applied to cigars.
- In the anime adaption of GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class, chain smoker Sasamoto-sensei has been seen to ask Usami-sensei to buy her cigarettes, but not for one second we've saw her smoking.
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh manga (the original one that "season 0" is based on) Joey smokes constantly the anime apparently tried to keep this tradition but it was nixed by the censors, so due to some editing Joey randomly SIGHS a lot (sometimes the smoke isn't even edited out).
- In Digimon Tamers, Yamaki is frequently shown carrying a lighter, and at one point we see an ashtray full of cigarettes. We never actually see him smoke.
- In Dragon Ball and it's sequel Bulma's father Mr. Briefs is a chain smoker who takes a drag in nearly every scene he's in, naturally the English broadcast version removed every frame of his cigarettes.
- Despite being a smoker for over 40 years in the manga, Golgo 13 doesn't smoke in the TV series.
- In the Gosick light novels Victorique is an underaged smoker, and has a raspy voice as a result. In the anime version she's just seen holding, and occasionally sucking on an ornate pipe, but never lighting it up, since the Japanese censorship laws forbid showing underaged characters smoking or drinking alcohol in public television series.
- When Joe Quesada became editor-in-chief of Marvel comics, he banned character from smoking, which includes several characters like Wolverine, J. Jonah Jameson, and Nick Fury. He apparently did it because his father died from lung cancer.
- However, Wolverine quit smoking before that, so this really didn't affect him that much.
- Lucky Luke used to have a cigarette in his mouth at almost all times, only to eventually replace it with a piece of straw. The artist ended up receiving an award from the World Health Organization as a result.
- The movie version of Watchmen cut out all instances of cigarette use, making Laurie look a bit stupid for randomly pressing the flame button on the Owl ship, though this was because the actress didn't want to smoke. In the extended edition, an agent does offer her a cigarette.
- The James Bond franchise. James was at first a "heavy" smoker (back when anyone who didn't smoke 2 packs a day of unfiltered Camels was considered a girly-man). He hasn't smoked a cigarette on-camera in over a decade and even mentioned it as a bad habit in Tomorrow Never Dies.
Live Action TV
- In That 70s Show you never see anyone actually smoke marijuana. Although you do sometimes see a smoky room and it is implied.
- How I Met Your Mother has an in-universe example, which also doubles as this for the (assumed) censorship of the network. Ted tells his kids about his college days spent "eating a sandwich", and while the show shows us people eating sandwiches, it's clear that they're smoking marijuana.
- One episode lampshades this where Future Ted's story does not make sense and he admits that Robyn did not go to the roof to think but actually to smoke. He has been omitting that all of them smoked since it was not relevant to the stories he was telling and he was embarrassed to mention it to his kids.
- The title character in Sherlock - a Setting Update of a character whose pipe is an Iconic Item - is on the patch, claiming it's impossible to smoke in London these days. In a nod to the original he refers to a "three patch problem".
- Sherlock's nicotine addiction is also a nod to the original's cocaine habit.
- A scene where R-Truth smoked in the O2 Arena (as well as commentator Josh Matthews making references to it) was cut from the UK airing of a Monday Night Raw, probably due to smoking in public buildings being illegal there. However, they kept John Morrison's "good shape for someone who smokes" comments in.
- Of course, cutting the scene also meant cutting out the crowd's chants of "That's illegal!"
- Purposefully used in Ace Attorney. That little white cylinder in hardboiled detective Tyrell Badd's mouth is a lollipop stick. Those odd pauses in his dialogue are apparently when he sucks on it.
- Averted in TV producer/mobster Dee Vasquez, who carries around a cigarette holder and casually takes a puff from it in one of her animations.
- The American version of La Pucelle has censored out the character Croix's tendency to smoke, but only by deleting out the image of a cigarette. This results in him performing the bizarre animation of removing a cigarette that isn't there from his lips and then putting it back.
- In T-Rated Final Fantasy VII Cid Highwind smokes a cigarette; in fact, you can see a pack of cigarettes stuffed under his bandana on his character model, and he uses it to light a stick of dynamite in one of his Limit Breaks. In E-Rated Kingdom Hearts he chews a straw.
- He spends most of his time in Dirge of Cerberus sans cigarette, to the point you might think he'd quit in the intervening time...until the end, when he lights up a victory smoke after blowing up a reactor.
- Badrach in Valkyrie Profile had his cigarette removed in the American version; his Finishing Move (in which he lit a bunch of explosions around his opponent with said cigarette) lost a bit of its effect. Few people cared because he, like all non-Lenneth archers, was a Tier-Induced Scrappy.
- After the intro FMV in the Japanese release of Resident Evil, Chris Redfield is shown lighting a cigarette in the live cast intro and again in the Chris-only ending. Western releases, like the Bowdlerized FMV, replaced his intro with stock FMV footage of him which is why his intro is unusual compared to others. All other games have no mention of him being a smoker.
- In Metal Gear Ghost Babel, Snake's cigarettes are replaced by a conspicuously shaped smoke emitting device called a "Fogger". This applies even in the Japanese version, where the cigarette substitute is referred by the less embarrassing name of "smoke emitter".
- In Gaia Online, there was a lot of controversy when a staff member silently removed Cigarettes and Pipes from the virtual item stores. They were quickly brought back when this was brought attention to.
- In Downtown, Goat smoked, but after being transplanted into Megas XLR he just has a sucker.
- In one episode of Pepper Ann, the title character follows a friend who has been sneaking off to the bathroom and is horrified to find that said friend has taken up gum chewing.
- Jet of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Badass embodiment of teenage rebellion, is rarely seen without a twig, buckwheat, etc. hanging from his mouth. This is referenced in the Avatar the Abridged Series episode that covers Jet's introduction. After he's hypnotized by the Dai-Li, he kicks the habit, a possible reference to the use of hypnosis to reduce or eliminate cigarette cravings.
- On some networks' airings of Looney Tunes, character's cigars and cigarettes are removed. A notable example is Rocky (of Rocky and Mugsy), who always has a cigarette in his mouth. Other networks kept these scenes intact.
- On the DVD release of Saludos Amigos, during the segment "El Gaucho Goofy", they remove a scene where Goofy smokes a cigarette.
- Similarly, on the DVD release for Melody Time, they removed all scenes of Pecos Bill smoking a cigarette. Averted for the British DVD release which retained the scenes where Pecos Bill is smoking his cigarette which means Melody Time is uncut, but the uncut version on DVD has yet to be released to America.
- In Thailand, depictions of smoking are censored on TV, such as on The Simpsons . Yet apparently, bubble pipes are inappropriate, but opium pipes are OK.
- Some networks that air Tom and Jerry remove scenes where the duo smoke cigars and cigarettes.
- In spongebob Squidward goes outside the Krusty Krab and says he needs fresh air he then leans up against the sign and pulls something out his pocket.
Anime and Manga
- Smoker (who smokes, naturally) from One Piece may be an exception, although his age is apparently not mentioned.
- He definitely is (at least in the anime): we see him as a kid in a flashback where he saw Gold Roger's execution, and he stated this was 22 years ago. In fact, he's apparently 34.
- In the 4Kids! dub though, Smoker's two cigars are removed, leaving him with an odd facial expression while missing two teeth (as he is no cigars clamped between his gritted teeth), the cigars on his bandoleers were removed, and he was even renamed to Captain Chaser. There's still smoke, but it's supposed to be a side-effect of his devil fruit, yet when he's locked in the cage that cancels out Devil Fruit powers he STILL HAS THE CLOUDS OF SMOKE.
- Funimation has said the broadcast version would still have the cigars, they just wouldn't be lit (and the DVD versions will not even have this edit).
- Seventeen-year-old Mamimi smokes in FLCL, although she's portrayed as a somewhat troubled character. And it's an OVA anyway, so censors aren't a problem.
- When broadcast in English on Adult Swim, the cigarettes were in not censored (or changed into a lollipop like the picture).
- A few characters are seen smoking in Great Teacher Onizuka. In the manga almost all the male students smoke and a few girls also.
- In Love Hina, Seta does, in fact, smoke all the time; this makes the Haruka example even odder.
- Saki from Genshiken is in her late teens and is seen smoking in her first appearance.
- She does give it up though after she accidentally sets fire to a massive pile of manga and doujin. She has nightmares about it afterwards, too. Afterwards, you never see her smoking again; nobody really seems to comment on it, though.
- The mid-to-late teen protagonists of Hot Gimmick go to a club and buy lots of alcohol, although the series hangs a winking lampshade on it, with sarcastically phrased narration bubbles constantly imploring "don't mean to nag, but teenagers shouldn't be drinking alcohol".
- Wolfwood from Trigun smokes like a chimney, and always has a dogend in his mouth in all of his appearances.
- Several characters on Gintama are seen smoking, though many of them are implied to be of legal age to do so. The Ginpachi-sensei omake chapters spoof this with Ginpachi's cigarette actually being a lollipop with a smoking stick (oddly, though, the JUMP Festa OVA version actually kept it as a cigarette.)
- Admittedly only a manga example, where censorship is obviously less prevalent, but still a rather amusing one. In Yotsuba&!, Torako is a friend of Asagi's who regularly smokes. When we first meet her formally, Yotsuba tells her that her father says smoking is bad, and then asks Torako why she smokes. Torako simply replies "Because I wanna." Yotsuba immediately considers her really cool.
- On the Japanese Wikipedia, that Torako smokes is cited as a reason to believe she and Asagi are at least 20 years old.
- Several characters in Spirited Away, including bathhouse owner Yubaba and a frogman smoke, and it was kept. For one thing, it adds to the theme of the bathhouse being filled with people with character flaws, and none of the characters who do so are attractive enough to make smoking look cool.
- Averted in Fullmetal Alchemist with Jean Havoc, hero and chain smoker.
- After seeing the things he goes through with Mustang, can you really blame him?
- It should also be noted that the mangaka made him a smoker for the express reason that it would give him a reason to be carrying the lighter necessary for Roy's pwnage of Lust.
- A fifteen year old offers the Wholesome Crossdresser protagonist of Wandering Son a cigarette while lighting up (in (a) church); the protagonist politely refuses.
- One of the adult characters is also noted to smoke. It doesn't help that one of the mangaka's former manga involved a ten year old smoker.
- The Landlady in Hidamari Sketch is often seen to smoke, to a semi-Once an Episode degree.
- Soul Eater's Professor Stein can be seen smoking in just about every episode he's in, which is a lot considering he's a main character. Giriko is a heavy drinker AND smoker. Some of the monsters of the week are seen smoking, too.
- Fee Carmichael from Planetes is a habitual smoker, but is generally unable to because oxygen is a precious commodity on space stations and space ships, so she has to do so in either a special smoking room or the little booth she constructed in the Debris Section office. She still manages to smoke every so often.
- Midou Ban from both the manga and anime of GetBackers -- while they toned down his Lovable Sex Maniac tendencies heavily for the anime, they certainly kept the smoking. Not to mention he's specifically underage in the manga (18; Japan's legal age on drinking/smoking/voting is 20).
- See that guy in the picture over on the Smoking Is Cool page? His name is Spike Spiegel. Say hi.
- Jigen from Lupin III is a chain smoker. Other characters including Lupin himself and Inspector Zenigata are partial to the occasional cigarette. Fujiko also occasionally lights up, and often does the requisite sexy pose. And a number of villains have been seen smoking nasty cigars.
- In the movie Thank You for Smoking, though we see a few smoke-filled rooms, we never actually see anyone smoke, even though the protagonist's life is ironically saved by his hardcore habit. His high tolerance saved him from what would have otherwise been a lethal dose of nicotine patches at the hands of a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
- Subverted in a deleted scene soon after the incident in question, where the main character is told he can never smoke again without severe risks, as a side effect. He picks up a cigarette, puts it to his mouth - and instantaneously falls unconscious before being able to light up. (The scene's deletion borderlines on Lampshade Hanging a very intentional gag.)
- Averted in the recent dvd release for Pinocchio while other Disney animated films have censored smoking scenes in recent releases, Pinocchio has probably the most smoking in a Disney film, all the characters with the exceptions of Jimminy Cricket and the Blue Fairy smoke at least once, this is probably because it's more or less portrayed in a bad light.
- It should be noted that Disney may not censor all smoking scenes in classic animated films. However, they do often put in PS As before the film in which movie footage is edited and reused as part of a short anti-smoking PSA. Two Examples (starring 101Dalmatians and Pinocchio can be found here.
- Bill in Left 4 Dead smokes a cigarette even when he's kicking some zombie ass. Even if he gets killed in the game, the cigarette never leaves his mouth, although it doesn't stay lit when he dies. In the No Mercy campaign, Bill will say "That's a crock of shit!" when he spots a no smoking sign. The teaser trailer for The Sacrifice DLC shows Bill lighting up a cigarette and offers Zoey some. In the comic version of The Sacrifice, Bill is seen lighting up a molotov with his cigarette to take down a Tank that is aproaching the bridge.
- In Bully a couple students and a few staff members can be seen smoking in some areas.
- In Monster Rancher 2, the Kato monster species was Bowdlerized from drinking lots of sake to having an obsession with drinking... olive oil. However, many monsters in that game can request that you buy them an item unique to their species... and the Kato's is still cigarettes.