KEITH Briggs can tell you a lot about how you can become addicted to smoking. After all, this is a man who smoked for 40 years and got through 30 to 40 cigarettes a day.

However, Mr Briggs can also tell you a lot about what it takes to stub out the habit - because that's exactly what he did last July.

Smokers who made a New Year resolution to kick the habit can be inspired by the fact that six months on, the 58-year-old is still enjoying the clean air that he breathes - but he said that anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps needs to have plenty of willpower.

The father-of-three, from Gainsborough Road, Black Dam, Basingstoke, said: "I don't agree with rules saying you have got to give up smoking, because it's a personal thing. You can't give up unless you want to. You've got to make that commitment."

The Sainsbury's lorry driver admitted he never expected to quit when he first visited the Hampshire Primary Care Trust (PCT)'s NHS quit smoking team at Church Cottage, St Michael's Church, Basingstoke.

He recalled: "I went to the doctor and he said you've got to give it up'. So I went to the smoking clinic, but I had no intention of giving up.

"At the clinic, they asked what I wanted to do and I knew if I had anything to do with nicotine, I wouldn't quit, so I went on Zyban tablets.

"You take them for a week before giving up smoking and by the sixth day I was struggling to smoke."

After only a week of being on Zyban, Mr Briggs stopped smoking, and a month later he no longer needed the tablets. However, he admitted that it has not been easy.

He said: "The problem with giving up is it is a lifestyle change. For example, if you are a smoker and you are doing something with your hands, you will stand back and have a cigarette while you think about it, so you have got to learn to remanage your time.

"I think I managed it because I made a point of still hanging about with all my mates who smoke. It is a radical change you are making and you don't want to lose your friends too."

Laura Rothery, the PCT's head of smoking cessation, said: "It has never been easier to quit smoking - you can now even text for help from the comfort of your sofa, the pub or a train - and I'm so pleased that Keith had great successes with his local NHS service."

Hampshire's Stop Smoking Service is available by calling 0845 602 4663, texting the word "QUIT" to 60123 or via referral by your GP, dentist or midwife. For more information, visit