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Keith Richards quits smoking ahead of upcoming tour

A file picture dated March 30, 2008 shows Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards smoking a cigarette at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City.
A file picture dated March 30, 2008 shows Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards smoking a cigarette at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City. Peter Foley / EPA

Keith Richards, longtime guitarist and co-founder of The Rolling Stones, has reportedly quit smoking in an attempt to improve his health while out on the road.

“I’ve given up smoking… since October,” the 76-year-old told iHeartRadio’s Q104.3, which interviewed Richards during its Rock & Roll Morning Show on Thursday.

“Done that, been there,” the rocker told host Jim Kerr with a laugh.

The news comes in conjunction with the band’s recent announcement of its tour, which will kick off in the spring.

Keith Richards (L) and Ron Wood (R) of The Rolling Stones perform during their concert at Estadio Unico Stadium in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Feb. 7, 2016.
Keith Richards (L) and Ron Wood (R) of The Rolling Stones perform during their concert at Estadio Unico Stadium in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Feb. 7, 2016. Demian Estevez / EPA

As a continuation of their No Filter tour, the Stones will return to North America this May and June. On May 12, they’ll even make a pit-stop in Vancouver for a single Canadian gig — the first since Canada Rocks with the Rolling Stones last summer.

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For decades, the Songwriters Hall of Famer has been captured in pictures and videos with a cigarette in his mouth — a majority of the time while he’s playing onstage.

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Last year, during an interview with Mojo, Richards recounted a conversation he once had with the late Lou Reed about trying to kick the habit of smoking, according to NME.

“I have tried, so far, unsuccessfully,” he said. “Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin. It is.

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“Quitting heroin is like hell, but it’s a short hell. Cigarettes are just always there, and you’ve always done it. I just pick ’em up and light ’em up without thinking about it.”

On the upcoming leg of the tour, Richards told Kerr: “I think both Mick [Jagger] and I felt that on the last tour we were just getting going. We’ve got to continue this.”

“We chose to do a shorter tour, which is fine with me,” he added. “This is, in a way, a continuation of last year’s shows.”

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Given his age and storied history of substance abuse, Stones fans took to Twitter to joke about Richards’ recent health resolution.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

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“Keith Richards, a man who should have died from substance abuse 1,000 years ago, is just now quitting smoking,” tweeted another user. “This man is never dying.”

READ MORE: Vancouver announced as sole Canadian date on Rolling Stones’ 2020 No Filter tour

Tickets for the No Filter tour are scheduled to go on sale on Friday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. in each local time zone where the band will play.

For additional Rolling Stones updates and tour dates, you can visit the band’s official website.

2020 North American No Filter tour dates

May 8 — San Diego, Calif. @ SDCCU Stadium
May 12 — Vancouver, B.C. @ BC Place
May 16 — Minneapolis, Minn. @ U.S. Bank Stadium
May 20 — Nashville, Tenn. @ Nissan Stadium
May 24 — Austin, Tex. @ Circuit of The Americas
May 29 — Dallas, Tex. @ Cotton Bowl Stadium
June 6 — Buffalo, N.Y. @ New Era Field
June 10 — Detroit, Mich. @ Ford Field
June 14 — Louisville, Ky. @ Cardinal Stadium
June 19 — Cleveland, Ohio @ FirstEnergy Stadium

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adam.wallis@globalnews.ca