The star is preparing to bring her Broadway production of Driving Miss Daisy to London's West End later this month (Sep11), but she has been forced to slow down rehearsals for the sake of her health.
But despite suffering a hacking cough, Redgrave is refusing to give up her favourite vice - cigarettes.
In an interview with Britain's The Guardian newspaper during which she lights up, the actress reveals, "Oh, write about it (the smoking) if you want. But it sets a bad example, and I hate being a bad example. My doctor will be horrified.
"I'm an absolute addict. I only started smoking because I read a newspaper article when I was 24 in which Francoise Sagan was asked what she had for breakfast. What did she have? A cup of black of coffee and a (French cigarette brand) Gauloise."
Redgrave admits her health battle is likely to affect her stage stint, adding: "(I have) very diminished energy with which I've got to start rehearsals."