Snoop Dogg denies cancer rumors. The rapper says he quit drinking and smoking pot just to live cleaner and be a more responsible dad

When pot poster boy Snoop Dogg announced a few weeks ago that he was quitting smoking and drinking, it was easy to wonder if health reasons were behind his change of heart. But the rapper is quick to dispel such talk, telling MTV, ”No, I don’t have lung cancer, and I don’t have throat cancer.” He says, ”I been smoking weed and drinking every day of my life for the past 10 years, and I just wanted to get high off of life and take a new direction and see what it sounds like and what it looks like from that point of view.”

Snoop also says he quit pot and booze because he wants to be a more responsible father. ”I’m also coaching my son’s football team, and being around kids five days a week. I wanted to be inspirational to the kids because they all look up to me,” he says. ”And I wanted to give ’em something to look up to, because it is cool to say no to drugs, and that’s what I’m doing right now. I’m 30 years old, and as you get older you get wiser, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Of his new health regimen, he tells MTV, ”I wanted to become a better Snoop Dogg, feelin’ good, full of water, proteins, cholesterols, and all kinds of stuff to keep me alive — lollipops and Big Macs.” Lollipops? Apparently, that’s a reference to ”Lollipop,” a track on his upcoming CD, ”Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Boss” (due Nov. 26), in which he disses former mentor and Death Row Records boss Suge Knight.

”Anybody that calls me out is a lollipop, a sucker,” Snoop tells MTV while licking his own sucker. ”I never paid no attention to him, but it just got to a point to where it was like every time I put a record out, [Knight] put a record out with me on it. And [he’s always] talkin’ about me and tryin’ to get at me and just doin’ negative things towards me and mine, so I just wanted to stand up to him and let him know that I ain’t no punk and I ain’t no little boy. I’m a grown-ass man and the way you bring it is the way you gotta take it.”

Snoop’s status as a newly mature, drug-free role model to kids didn’t keep him from being cut from an upcoming Muppet Christmas TV movie. Producers said in a statement that Snoop was snipped because the movie was running long, and his cameo ”did not advance the storyline.” But an activist group called Project Islamic Hope took credit for getting the gangsta rapper and sometime pornographer axed from the kids’ show, claiming its alerts to the media (including Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly) and a threatened boycott forced the Jim Henson Company to reconsider, a charge the Henson Company has denied.