Willie Nelson says he has puffed his final joint.
The country music legend and longtime marijuana legalization advocate, still touring at 86, told San Antonio's television station KSAT that for health reasons, he no longer smokes marijuana.
“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days and I have to be careful," Nelson said in the interview. “I don’t smoke anymore. I take better care of myself today."
Nelson talked about his long history of smoking, saying he had "mistreated" his body since he was young, growing up in Abbott, Texas.
“I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever,” he said. “And that almost killed me.”
Willie Nelson: Marijuana ‘saved my life’
It did not, and Nelson, who smoked his first joint in 1954, has become synonymous with marijuana smoking. In August, Nelson was forced to quit six shows on tour due to "breathing issues."
Keeping his lungs healthy is paramount, especially with performing, he said.
"Your lungs are the biggest muscle you have got. So when you're out there working, you are working out," Nelson said.
In a statement to USA TODAY Wednesday, Nelson's publicist Elaine Schock clarified that the end to his smoking habit does not mean he's stopped using cannabis altogether.
"Willie does what he wants when he wants regarding smoking. There are numerous ways of consumption. He has not given up cannabis," she wrote.
"I wouldn’t have lived 85 years if I’d have kept drinking and smoking like I was when I was 30, 40 years old. I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people. And probably kept a lot of people from wanting to kill me, too — out there drunk, running around.”
In his KSAT interview, Nelson said he didn't care that his health issues have been a constant source of internet speculation.
"I’m here; I’m glad to be here,” he said. “I’m lucky to be here.”
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Willie Nelson has quit marijuana smoking after breathing issues