Barry Manilow started smoking at the age of nine.

The 'Copacabana' singer gave up the habit 20 years ago after beginning at an early age in the tough New York neighbourhood he grew up in.

Despite quitting, Barry recently started inhaling from electronic cigarettes after smoking a real cigarette in Las Vegas.

He said: ''Well I smoked for 30 years. I started when I was nine years old. I grew up in Brooklyn.

''Then I stopped about 15, 20 years ago. Then I just started in Las Vegas and the band and I went down to a little club and somebody offered me a cigarette. And I was back. Within a week I was back. Not on a pack a day, cause when I was really smoking I was on three packs a day - non filters. Oh yeah. I was a great smoker.''

Discussing his electronic smoking, he admits it is not for everyone but works for him.

He said: ''Do they work? They do for me, my band and my crew, all of us who hated smoking but couldn't stop.''

Barry, 68, is well-known for leading a bachelor lifestyle, and he has no regrets about not having children as he enjoys ''raising'' his dogs.

He said: ''It was impossible. This insane world that I have and trying to be a father - I think I would have had to choose one or the other. But, the choice never really happened anyway. Hey, look, the closest I get is raising dogs. Whenever I get one of those little puppies, I stop everything I do. I give them a good eight or nine weeks just with me and I train them.''