Home Tv & Show Rolling Stones' hellraiser Keith Richards, 76, reveals he's STOPPED smoking

Rolling Stones' hellraiser Keith Richards, 76, reveals he's STOPPED smoking

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Keith Richards has revealed he has finally stopped smoking, one year after claiming giving up nicotine was ‘harder than quitting heroin.’

The Rolling Stones rocker, 76, who is famed for being a hellraiser and legendary party animal, told Q104.3 New York’s Jim Kerr that he hasn’t touched a cigarette since October.

The guitarist said: ‘Done that, been there’ when asked about his former nicotine habit.

End of an era: Keith Richards has revealed he has finally stopped smoking, one year after claiming giving up nicotine was'harder than quitting heroin' (pictured 2015)

End of an era: Keith Richards has revealed he has finally stopped smoking, one year after claiming giving up nicotine was ‘harder than quitting heroin’ (pictured 2015)

Keith has been reining in his party lifestyle and embarking on a health kick ahead of the continuation of the Stones; No Filter Tour, which will resume in San Diego, California in May.

The Gimme Shelter hitmaker said: ‘I think both Mick [Jagger] and I felt that on the last tour we were just getting going,’ Richards said. ‘… [We]’ve got to continue this.’ 

Back in February 2019,  Keith revealed he was cutting down on hard liquor and his beloved cigarettes,in an interview with MOJO Magazine.

Keith admitted he has started 2019 on a health kick, after December turned into ‘one long party’ for his 75th birthday and 35th wedding anniversary with wife Patti Hansen at his lavish Turks & Caicos house on Parrot Cay.  

Battle: The Rolling Stones rocker, 76, who is famed for being a hellraiser and legendary party animal, told Q104.3 New York's Jim Kerr that he hasn't touched a cigarette since October (pictured 1988)

Battle: The Rolling Stones rocker, 76, who is famed for being a hellraiser and legendary party animal, told Q104.3 New York’s Jim Kerr that he hasn’t touched a cigarette since October (pictured 1988)

The musician said: ‘By January 1, you’re knackered. And that’s a good way to start a new year, right?! I’m drying out now!’ 

I’ve knocked the hard stuff on the head. I have a little wine with meals, and a Guinness or a beer or two, but otherwise… no. It’s like heroin – the experiment is over.’  

He paused. ‘Mind you, if I meet you in a bar and you say, ‘Do you want a drink?’ – heheheh – I wouldn’t turn it down! I’m not a puritan in these matters. It’s just that it’s not on the daily menu anymore.’

When asked if he had ever tried to give up cigarettes, the guitarist said: ‘I have tried. So far, unsuccessfully! Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin.’   

The guitarist said:'Done that, been there' when asked about his former nicotine habit (pictured 2005)

The guitarist said: ‘Done that, been there’ when asked about his former nicotine habit (pictured 2005)

‘It is. Quitting heroin is like hell, but it’s a short hell. I mean, the actual process. Cigarettes are just always there, and you’ve always done it. 

‘I just pick ’em up and light ’em up without thinking about it. But lately, in fact – spread the news! – I’ve managed to cut it down by a substantial amount every day, and I’m still working on it. 

‘Because I realised I don’t need it. I realised it’s just a useless habit. But hey, when you’re 75, habits are pretty ingrained.’      

The Rolling Stones, of which Richards is a founding member, are so famed for their hedonism and debauchery that their actions in the bands heyday have set the bar for what it meant to be a decadent rock star ever since. 

Kicking the habit! Keith has been reining in his party lifestyle and embarking on a health kick ahead of the continuation of the Stones; No Filter Tour, which will resume in San Diego, California in May (pictured 1999)

Kicking the habit! Keith has been reining in his party lifestyle and embarking on a health kick ahead of the continuation of the Stones; No Filter Tour, which will resume in San Diego, California in May (pictured 1999)

Keith, known as Keef by die-hard fans. instantly set himself apart from the other band members for his raucous antics. 

He was arrested and charged five times for drugs offences: in 1967, twice in 1973, in 1977, and in 1978.

At his first trial he was sentenced to a year in prison for allowing cannabis to be smoked on his property, though this was later overturned.   

However the band were subsequently relentlessly pursued by police throughout their 1972 North America tour – dubbed the ‘Cocaine and Tequila Sunrise tour’ – which was when they first started book up entire floors of hotels. 

Pals? Johnny Depp and Keith are pictured out and about in London in 2010

Pals? Johnny Depp and Keith are pictured out and about in London in 2010

On the way a show in Nebraska, the Stones were pulled over by the police, who uncovered an enormous stash of illegal drugs.

Nothing came of it – apart from a $165.50 fine for reckless driving – but Richards says of the tour in his biography: ‘The State Department had noted riots (true), civil disobedience (also true), illicit sex (whatever that is), and violence across the United States.’  

Facing a minimum sentence of seven years, Richards evaded jail time by striking a plea bargain that including holding a show to raise money for the blind.

He finally quit cocaine after he fell from a tree in Fiji and suffered a severe head trauma that required live-saving surgery in 2006.

Rocky road: He was arrested and charged five times for drugs offences - in 1967, twice in 1973, in 1977, and in 1978 (pictured 2007)

Rocky road: He was arrested and charged five times for drugs offences – in 1967, twice in 1973, in 1977, and in 1978 (pictured 2007)

While he still allows himself the ‘occasional’ glass of wine or beer, Keith told Rolling Stone in December 2018, that curbing his drinking has been an ‘adjustment’.

He said: ‘You can call it that, yeah. But I don’t notice any difference really – except for I don’t drink. I wasn’t feeling [right]. I’ve done it. I didn’t want that anymore.’     

Ronnie Wood, himself sober for eight years – told Rolling Stone that Richards has become ‘a pleasure to work with,’ since he cut back on the substances and alcohol.

‘Much more mellow. He’s open to more ideas, whereas before I’d kind of grit my teeth and go, ‘He’s gonna give me some shit for saying this.’ Now, he’ll say, ‘That’s cool, man’,’ Wood said.

 

 

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