Don’t Puff, Puff, Puff That Cigarette

I was the last one in my gang to start smoking.

The first time I smoked a cigarette, I choked on the smoke. It didn’t taste or smell good. Smoking was not for me (or so I thought). Every time I tried it I coughed uncontrollably.

No one I know smokes. 

Many of my friends, heavy smokers, died of cancer I believe due to smoking.

I had lip cancer.

Fortunately, the cancer was at the edge of my tongue. My doctor took a “V” section of it in an office operation.

A few days later he called me.

“Morrie, you are a lucky guy. None of the surrounding tissue shows signs of cancer. I got it all out.”

That was a long time ago. To this date, there has not been a reoccurrence of the cancer (knock on wood).

My cancer was caused by smoking a pipe (and cigar and cigarettes).

* * *

I stopped smoking about 30 years ago. 

It wasn’t easy. Smoking is harder to give up than quitting opium or heroin. I tried giving up smoking several times without success.

I got up one morning, my tongue was sore. I had difficulty swallowing.

With Betty watching me, I went to my pipe rack and broke 10 pipes I had there.

“Morrie, are you crazy? Tomorrow you will be buying new ones.”

“I’ve had it,” I said. “This time I’m quitting for good,” and I did.

Being hooked on tobacco is not an easy habit to kick, but with determination and self-control, I did it.

Now, not only do I have a dislike for the smell of tobacco, I abhor the very thought of smoking. 

I stay away from people who smoke. A few breaths of smoke and I start coughing.

I never smoked again. My pockets no longer have packs of cigarettes or containers of tobacco. 

* * *

No one I know smokes.

Smoking is an expensive and unhealthy habit. 

Don’t do it.

Your teeth won’t need cleaning as often.

You won’t have a sour taste in your mouth.

You will be more kissable.

Please, no ifs, ands or “butts.”

So – don’t puff, puff, puff that cigarette.

Sooner or later, cancer you may get.

Don’t risk it.


(January 1, 2021)

Author: Morrie Markoff

Centenarian (born in 1914) who lives in Los Angeles, and is also a metal sculpture artist and the Author of "Keep Breathing," available on and other book seller sites.