The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about
Smoking and Tobacco

Welcome to my page of quotations about tobacco and smoking. I am not a smoker myself, nor am I encouraging tobacco use. This page contains quotes that are about smokers and the pleasures of smoking, as well as nonsmoker, anti-tobacco, and quit-smoking quotes. As a disclaimer, if I'm encouraging anything, it would be to not smoke. But I do enjoy good literary descriptions, and that is why many of these quotes are in my collection.  —ღ Terri

Here's to Lady Nicotine!
Saint and Sorceress and Queen!
Saint, whose purple halo rings
Lift our eyes from earthly things;
Witch, whose wand of scented briar
Transmutes dead weeds into fragrant fire;
Queen, whose rod her slaves adore!
What can freedom offer more?
~Oliver Herford, "To Our Lady Nicotine," Happy Days, illustrated by John Cecil Clay, 1917

One thousand Americans stop smoking every day — by dying. ~Author unknown

Tobacco is a harmful weed, the learned physicians are agreed. It stains the teeth and bites the tongue, and injures larynx, heart and lung, it spoils the whiskers, taints the breath, and sends man to an early death... ~Walt Mason

If you must smoke, take your butt outside. ~Author unknown

Tobacco:  Tumor-causing, teeth-staining, smelly, puking habit. ~Arizona Department of Health Services Tobacco Education and Prevention Program ad campaign, created by Riester–Robb Advertising, 1996,,

Smoke your pipe and be silent; there's only wind and smoke in the world. ~Irish proverb

The believing we do something when we do nothing, is the first illusion of tobacco. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of the most pressing questions facing railway undertakings is that of meeting the respective needs of the smoker and the non-smoker in passenger travel.... In recent years there has been a marked growth of the smoking habit, and to meet changing conditions the Great Western Railway of England has just arranged for twenty-five per cent of its passenger accommodation in trains to be labelled "non-smoking," leaving the remaining seventy-five per cent available for ardent worshippers at the shrine of "My Lady Nicotine." This arrangement will, it is thought, be appreciated by passengers generally. It is not only the male smoker who has nowadays to be considered. There is also a large proportion of smokers among the fair sex, while many women not actually indulging in the habit themselves seem to love to journey in the more or less fragrant atmosphere of a smoking compartment. ~"My Lady Nicotine," in The New Zealand Railways Magazine, 1931 June 1st

You are all that's left. I watch your spark
And hesitate to crush you with my heel.
Perhaps you, too, resent the sudden dark
That follows flame. Perhaps you, too, can feel
The hurt that comes when one must be subdued.
Would you prefer to burn to ashes too?
Then burn. And I shall watch you as I brood —
I shall not bring the end of things to you...
Your case is too much mine. I know that I
Prefer to dwindle down to ashy dust
Rather than quench my fire because I must.
~Eleanor Graham, "To A Cigarette," in College Verse, November 1931

To smoke or not to smoke: I can make of either a life-work. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Basil, I can't allow you to smoke cigars. You must have a cigarette. A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want? ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890

"Will you smoke?" I ask.
"No, I have reformed."
~Charles Dudley Warner, Backlog Studies, 1873

Tobacco saps the land, saps the purse, and saps the man. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

There are two species of tobacco worm, one crawls, the other walks erect. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

I hereby solemnly resolve to give up the filthy habit of smoking:
– In powder mills.
– While chewing tobacco.
– While laying carpets and carrying a pint of tacks in my mouth.
– In any building where the danger of fire is enormous and a powerfully built redheaded fireman is watching me with narrowed lids.
– While reading the works of Henry James.
~James Montgomery Flagg, "I Should Say So: Four Easy New Year's Resolutions," 1915  [a little altered —tg]

There's a lot of people who, a cigarette is about the only vacation they have. ~Trey Parker, mini-commentary on DVD South Park episode "Butt Out"

TOBACCO  A nauseating plant that is consumed by but two creatures; a large, green worm and — man. The worm doesn't know any better. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

Of Uncle Max our chief recollections consist in going with our nurse to pay him a little visit every morning after our early breakfast, and before proceeding for our daily walk. This practice continued with little intermission for many years, from the time when we were too small to be trusted alone, until we were fourteen or fifteen years old. I can scarcely remember an occasion on which we did not find dear Uncle Max with a long pipe in his mouth, writing at a high stand-up desk; but the pen was laid down at once, and for half an hour he gave himself up to us. There was often a good romp, Uncle Max going down on all-fours and letting us ride round the room on his back, sometimes pretending that he was an elephant, and thereby getting a sly puff to keep alight his long pipe, which did duty as his trunk. ~A.H. Engelbach, Two Campaigns: A Tale of Old Alsace, c.1875

LADY FREDERICK BEROLLES.  You may have a cigarette, Charlie.
MARQUESS OF MERESTON.  Thanks. My nerves are a bit dicky this morning.
~W. Somerset Maugham, Lady Frederick, 1907

...cigarette smoking. The fumes are inhaled into the lungs, the blood is poisoned, the nervous system is affected, and the system is a wreck. ~F. J. Groner, M.D., "Health Hints," 1889

In a gathering of two or more people, when a lighted cigarette is placed in an ashtray, the smoke will waft into the face of the non-smoker. ~Author unknown

[T]he majority of men are discontented with their life, and seek the pleasures of the flesh. But the flesh can never be satisfied, and men... seek oblivion in smoking or drunkenness. ~Leo Tolstoy, The Pathway of Life, translated by Archibald J. Wolfe, 1919

I want so bad to not smoke anymore.... I don't like something having control over me, and I think that having an addiction to something is letting something control you — and I'm a control freak. ~Kat Von D, LA Ink, "Kat Tales" (season 2, episode 8), original airdate 2008 December 4th

Mr. Waife drew a long whiff, and took a more serene view of affairs. He who doth not smoke hath either known no great griefs, or refuseth himself the softest consolation, next to that which comes from heaven. ~Pisistratus Caxton (Edward George Earle Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, 1803–1873), What Will He Do with It?, 1857

Do you recall our first few moments together,
      Or do you forget?
You stammered and said something vague about the weather;
      I offered a cigarette
And took one for myself, and there were snatches
      Of laughter as you tried
To keep aflame those weak, half-hearted matches
      That flashed and died.
Finally, with an effort, you succeeded;
      And, shielding it with your hand,
You offered me the only spark I needed.
      You did not understand
When, as I leaned to you and the flame leaped higher
      And you would not let it go,
I warned you, laughing, you were playing with fire…
      Now you know!
~Louis Untermeyer, "The Match," The New Adam, 1920

CIGARETTE  A weed whose smoke, some say, should never be inhaled, and still more insist should never be exhaled. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

Is it any wonder that children hate their books, love theatres and learn vice, or that we see young men practice the learned, polite, genteel, healthy, fashionable, and useful accomplishment of munching delicious Indian weed; or that clouds of grateful incense rise to perfume the air, from, what the newspapers term 'a roll, with fire at one end, and a fool at the other?' Is it any wonder that comic almanacs, legendary tales, profane jests, double entendres, accounts of seduction, and murders, gratify the public appetite? ~H. O. Sheldon, "A True Picture," in Mothers' Monthly Journal, 1841

Please don't throw your cigarette butts in the urinal. It makes them soggy and hard to light. ~Author unknown

To continue this panegyric on earthly delights, let me just say that it's impossible to drink without smoking... If alcohol is queen, then tobacco is her consort. It's a fond companion for all occasions, a loyal friend through fair weather and foul. People smoke to celebrate a happy moment, or to hide a bitter regret. Whether you're alone or with friends, it's a joy for all the senses. What lovelier sight is there than that double row of cigarettes, lined up like soldiers on parade and wrapped in silver paper? If I were blindfolded and a lighted cigarette placed between my lips, I'd refuse to smoke it. I love to touch the pack in my pocket, open it, savor the feel of the cigarette between my fingers, the paper on my lips, the taste of the tobacco on my tongue. I love to watch the flame spurt up, love to watch it come closer and closer, filling me with its warmth... ~Luis Buñuel (1900–1983), "Earthly Delights," My Last Sigh: The Autobiography of Luis Buñuel, 1982, translated by Abigail Israel, 1983

We do not propose here to blow an angry blast against the use of the marvellous weed.... We will not deny that soldiers in camp, weary laborers, tramps on the road, gentlemen of leisure, exhausted poets, and even preachers find a refreshing solace in the narcotizing smoke. If it shortens the average of human life a little, who shall say that it may not also render life somewhat richer in sensations and more interesting? ~C.F. Doyle, "The Tobacco Pest," Health Magazine, October 1899

Another thing that cigarette smoking causes is statistics. ~Changing Times, c.1964

Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics. ~Author unknown

A pipe smoker is more of a home man, it seems to me. There is no better picture of contentment than a man smoking a pipe in his home after the day's work is done. ~Anonymous woman, when asked why women like pipe-smokers, in a Larus & Brother Company Edgeworth advertisement, 1922

I'm glad I don't have to explain to a man from Mars why each day I set fire to dozens of little pieces of paper, and put them in my mouth. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966, © Thomas Paine McLaughlin

Our purpose here is to call attention to a single phase of the smoker's life, and genially to prick his conscience, if possible. We refer to his habitual and, we think, increasing thoughtlessness in regard to other people's comfort and pleasure. Many have become callous to all kinds of sensations; as for tobacco, we can be steeped in smoke for a whole evening, till our Sunday coats carry a stale and suspicious odor for days, and declare that no evil exists. But, there are two things about uncontaminated purity of which we are all righteously sensitive — our drinking-water and the common air of heaven. We will not permit anyone to run any taint into our water supply; so we say when we can get fresh air to breathe. The most advanced metaphysician does not want any one to set up a glue factory opposite his house. What right, then, we ask, has the smoker to pollute this same common air with the fumes of his weed? Is it tolerable that he should blow smoke into our eyes and throats on all the public streets? What justice has he to defile for us the pure air of the hills. Let him be assured that no one, except the selfish smoker himself, really enjoys having his ozone mixed with tobacco. We ask for a new and gentlemanly thoughtfulness and a measure of wholesome self-restraint, of smoking away from public observation and not giving needless offense by spoiling the pure air. ~C.F. Doyle, "The Tobacco Pest," 1898  [a little altered; #secondhand smoke, #smoking in public —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

I want all hellions to quit puffing that hell fume in God's clean air. ~Carrie Nation

By God's-me! I marvel what Pleasure or Felicity they have in taking this roguish Tobacco! it's good for nothing but to choke a Man, and fill him full of Smoke and Embers. ~Ben Jonson, Every Man in His Humour, 1598, with alterations and additions by David Garrick, 1755

Cigarettes are killers that travel in packs. ~Author unknown

Your clothes smell heavily of clothing. Your den is filled with low-hanging palls of fresh air. The only rattle in your car is the sound of toll change in the ashtray. The absence of telltale tobacco stains on your shirt collar tells the tale — you've licked the smoking habit. ~Robert Brault, 1973,

The cigarette does the smoking — you're just the sucker. ~Author unknown

      "As a rule," said Holmes, "the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling, just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify..."
      "What are you going to do, then?" I asked.
      "To smoke," he answered. "It is quite a three-pipe problem, and I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes." He curled himself up in his chair, with his thin knees dawn up to his hawk-like nose, and there he sat with his eyes closed and his black clay pipe thrusting out like the bill of some strange bird. ~A. Conan Doyle, "The Red-Headed League," Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1891

Tio stepped to the counter and bought a little black cigar that was strong enough to do push-ups. ~James Street (1903–1954), "The Grains of Paradise"

To many, the cigarette is a portable therapist. ~Terri Guillemets

Coffee and tobacco are complete repose. ~Turkish proverb

To that daintiest siren of puff and perfume, a Turkish cigarette. ~Minna Thomas Antrim, "To La Cigarette," A Book of Toasts, 1902

Forcing smoke down my lungs is pulmonary rape. It invades my body against my will, and it's not fair. ~Patty Young

The cigarette is a mortal passion. ~Terri Guillemets

It is easy to quit; I have quit at least a hundred times. ~Author unknown

The best way to stop smoking is to carry wet matches. ~Author unknown

I never smoked a cigarette until I was nine. ~W. C. Fields, 1940

I've been smoking nearly 50 years now. I just don't feel safe breathing anything I can't see! ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), @Raqhun, tweet, 2008

Tobacco culture Mr. Fox
Reveals as such a curse-provoking
Employ, that when I'm through this box
Of weeds, I guess I'll give up smoking.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Rhymed Reviews: The Heart of the Hills by John Fox," in Life, 1913

A nonsmoker is forced to find food, but for a smoker breakfast can be a cigarette and a cup of bad coffee. ~Terri Guillemets

A good cigar is like a beautiful chick with a great body who also knows the American League box scores. ~M*A*S*H, "Bug-Out," 1976, written by James Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum  [S5, E1, Klinger]

It goes without saying that alcohol and tobacco are excellent accompaniments to lovemaking — the alcohol first, then the cigarettes. ~Luis Buñuel (1900–1983), "Earthly Delights," My Last Sigh: The Autobiography of Luis Buñuel, 1982, translated by Abigail Israel, 1983

Remember, if you smoke after sex you're doing it too fast. ~Author unknown  [I've heard tell this is Woody Allen but haven't yet been able to verify. —tg]

Finally, dear readers, allow me to end these ramblings on tobacco and alcohol, delicious fathers of abiding friendships and fertile reveries, with some advice: Don't drink and don't smoke. It's bad for your health. ~Luis Buñuel (1900–1983), "Earthly Delights," My Last Sigh: The Autobiography of Luis Buñuel, 1982, translated by Abigail Israel, 1983

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published 2000 Dec 23
revised 2021 Jul 13
last saved 2022 Dec 16