I am a fan of Stan Laurel, and Pookie has been influenced by him. clenched fist , "flick" his thumb as a lighter, and then sit back and smoke.
No one has mentioned here the greatest thumb smoker of all time. And that person is the great Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy fame.
Best pipe scene ever was in the 1938 Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy film. Block- Heads when Stanley asked Oliver if it was ok to smoke his pipe and Ollie told What a great scene to see Stanley puffin on his thumb and curls of smoke rising.
In l962, Stan Laurel told producer Sam Sherman that the derby he was gags, when Stan turns his hand into a flaming lighter by flicking his thumb, Laurel one day watching a gag man struggle with a cigarette lighter which wouldn't work .
Done by Laurel and Hardy in Way Out West (1937; probably the Trope Maker). Stan ignites his thumb as if it were a cigarette lighter several times; each time.