Rolling Stones guitarist and legendary hellraiser Keith Richards quits smoking

Julia Hunt
Keith Richards sits among the studio audience of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, April 8, 2013. (Photo by: Lloyd Bishop/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards has revealed he has finally given up smoking – which he once said was harder to do than quitting heroin.

The guitarist, 76, said in an interview with a US radio station that he had managed to pack in his nicotine habit late last year, not long after he decided to cut down on drinking.

"I've given up smoking... since October," he told Q104.3 New York's Jim Kerr.

"Done that, been there."

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Richards said last year that he was trying to quit smoking but admitted that he was finding it tough.

He told Mojo magazine at the time: “I have tried. So far, unsuccessfully.

“Lou Reed claimed nicotine was harder to quit than heroin. It is.”

Richards during an interview in New York, September 1988. (AP Photo/Charles Wenzelberg)

He added: “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.”

In 2018, the legendarily hedonistic musician said he had pretty much “pulled the plug” on drinking.

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“I got fed up with it,” he told Rolling Stone magazine.

Richards is one of the founding members of the Rolling Stones, who are fronted by his former childhood friend Sir Mick Jagger.

The band was formed in 1962. Several of their albums have topped the charts, including Aftermath, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and, most recently, 2016’s Blue & Lonesome.