Popular social-networking site Facebook denies removing a photo from the site, following public outcry over the image -- a six-month-old baby smoking a cigarette. 

The photo posted on the social networking site shows Ollie Davey, six months, in a striped baby jumpsuit with the unlit cigarette between his lips. Friends of Ollie's mother Rebecca Davey, 18, were horrified when the photo was posted by a relative, The Sun reported on Tuesday.

The Sun quoted one friend: "What chance has that kid got if the family behave like this?" 

Initial reports indicated the image was removed by Facebook, after friends contacted site officials. But a Facebook spokeswoman denied accusations that the site removed the image. "The photo did not violate our Terms of Service and was not removed by us," FoxNews.com was told, after an extensive internal investigation.

Police said they had visited Rebecca's home in Southend, Essex, but there were "no immediate concerns" for Ollie's welfare. Michelle Elliott from the child safety charity Kidscape said: "The problem we have here is that we have babies having babies and they think something like this is funny.

"Even though the cigarette is not lit, what kind of message does this send out? It's completely inappropriate and irresponsible."

A police spokesman said: "We received information in the early hours of Saturday morning about a picture of a baby with a cigarette in its mouth that had appeared on Facebook."

Officers traced the family and the spokesman added: "The matter was referred to social services for any following action."

Rebecca and her family refused to comment on the photo.