A Strange ’80s Anti-Smoking Disney Cartoon Made in New Zealand

Smoking: The Choice is Yours… is a 1981 Disney educational short directed by animator John Ewing, who worked on Sleeping Beauty, Sword in the Stone, and The Jungle Book. Ewing, however, did not make this cartoon while at Disney.

A Texas native who was born in 1928, he moved to New Zealand in 1967, where he played an important role in the development of that country’s animation industry, first by creating American-style TV commercials and films, and later, by starting the Animation College, which trained many artists who work in the industry today. Though the Disney short contains no studio credits, I believe it to have been produced in New Zealand by Ewing’s company Freelance Animators Ltd., which did contract work for both Disney and Warner Bros. throughout the 1980s. Below is an example of an earlier commercial that Ewing made in New Zealand:

Ewing is retired today, but remains active by illustrating children’s books, creating sculptures, and talking to students about his career.