Willie Nelson quits smoking pot due to breathing problems

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Years of smoking marijuana, Nelson admits, has taken its toll on his lungs

(CNN) – Beset with health issues related to his many years of smoking, country music icon Willie Nelson says he’s quit.

Still performing at 86, Wilson said it keeps him in shape.

“Singing out there for an hour is a good workout. Your lungs are the biggest muscle you got, so when you’re out there working, you are working out,” he said.

Years of smoking marijuana, he admits, has taken its toll on his lungs.

“I have abused my lungs quite a bit in the past, so breathing is a little more difficult these days that I have to be careful/ I’ve mistreated myself since I was this big. I started out smoking cedar bark and it went from that to cigarettes or whatever, and that almost killed me,” he said.

It didn’t, so he made a decision.

“I don’t smoke anymore,” Nelson said. “I take better care of myself today than I did then.”

His health issues have prompted rumors that he’s near death, struggling to stay alive.

Do those rumors upset him?

“I don’t give a (expletive). Excuse me. I’m here. I’m glad to be here. I’m lucky to be here,” he responded.

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