The country music legend, who had to cancel his tour over the summer because of lung problems, said it’s for his health

By Julie Mazziotta
December 04, 2019 02:34 PM
Willie Nelson
Gary Miller/Getty

Willie Nelson told a Texas TV station that he no longer smokes, sparking speculation that he stopped smoking marijuana.

Nelson’s publicist Elaine Schock tells PEOPLE he does indeed “still taste the flower.”

“Willie doesn’t smoke any more or any less [weed],” Schock says.

Schock confirmed that he no longer smokes cigarettes, clarifying what Nelson told KSAT in San Antonio on Monday.

“I don’t smoke anymore. I take better care of myself,” the 86-year-old country music legend said.

Over the summer, he had to cancel his tour due to a “breathing problem.”

“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,” he said. “I’ve mistreated my lungs since I was [young]. I started smoking cedar bark, went from that to cigarettes to whatever. And that almost killed me.”

But Nelson is still very much alive, even if rumors started circulating that he was near death after he had to cancel his shows.

“I don’t give a s—,” about the rumors, Nelson said. “I’m here, I’m glad to be here. I’m lucky to be here.”

And continuing to tour is actually helping him, Nelson said.

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

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Nelson is a well-documented fan of weed, and even has his own curated line of marijuana called Willie’s Reserve.

“I feel like I bought so much, it’s time to start selling it back!” he said in 2015.

He even convinced Woody Harrelson to start smoking pot again after the actor took a 2-year break.

“He was never comfortable with me quitting, it just bothered him,” Harrelson said in May 2018. “I would always say, ‘Willie you know I’m not smoking,’ He would always do the same thing like he was hearing it for the first time, ‘Oh really? Sorry!’ This happened like 500 times.”

But after a poker game, Nelson got Harrelson to smoke up.

“I was in a celebratory mood and he hands me that pin and I was just snatched and it was like ‘ah, f— it,’ ” Harrelson said. “I take a big draw of it and he says ‘Welcome home, son.’ ”

 

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