James Hetfield said he wasn’t concerned about the health risks associated with smoking cigars – and explained why he enjoyed lighting up in places he wasn’t allowed to.

The Metallica frontman, who’s released two signature cigars to date, also discussed why smoking meant so much to him in a social sense.

Asked on the latest episode of The Metallica Report if cigars had affected his singing voice, Hetfield said: “There’s a lot of people around me that are concerned about that and the health and what not. It has not affected it that I know of.”

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He continued: “I feel that I’m kinda singing the best that I have in a long time and I’m doing my best, and I get to enjoy that as well. So we’ll see.”

He went on to mark the pleasure he experienced from smoking. “We have a cigar fellowship back home and we get together every Thursday and have a puff, and just get real with each other; you know, check in with each other,” he said.

“There are a few guys in the area that are not real social and we get together once a week… they’re looking forward to that day of the week, which I enjoy.

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“When I’m not there, they’ve got the code to my garage; they can get into the house and they enjoy it while I’m away too… Just to know that people are gathering, getting together at my place when I’m not there is cool. That wouldn’t have happened earlier on, opening up my house to that.”

Hetfield described smoking as “kind of a meditation,” celebrating the fact that the hobby featured “little trinkets, cutters, lighters, paraphernalia… great gift-giving stuff too.” He admitted smoking was “not a welcomed thing” everywhere.

“There’s probably the rebel part of me that enjoys the, ‘Sir, you’re not supposed to smoke here…’ ‘Yeah, I know!’” he added. “It’s an expression of freedom for myself. It’s not for everybody, and that’s fine. It’s just a connection I enjoy with some people.”

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