POMPEY legend Alan Knight is the face of a new group that hopes to help people kick the smoking habit.
The former Portsmouth goalkeeper had been a smoker for the past 30 years.
But three weeks ago he decided to stop and now he is urging others to do the same.
The 50-year-old said: ‘I started smoking out of boredom and never stopped.
‘It was one of those things I knew I could have, just like alcohol.
‘But then I decided to quit earlier this month because I was getting a lot of chest infections.
‘It’s also an expensive habit – it can cost up to £7 for a packet of cigarettes. That adds up to a lot of money.’
Alan used to smoke around 20 cigarettes a day, but has been smoke-free since using a variety of nicotine replacement therapies.
From Tuesday a new eight-week programme called Kick The Habit with Alan will start.
The group is run by Solent NHS Trust’s PompeyQuit stop smoking service and the Pompey Sports and Education foundation, based in Fratton Park.
The sessions will give smokers the help and advice needed to quit. They will be offered free nicotine replacement products.
‘When I quit drinking it was much better being part of a group,’ added Alan.
‘If you’re talking to other people who are giving up as well, it helps a great deal.
‘I have been drink-free for three years now and the support at the start helped.
‘There are so many products out there to help with quitting – people should not give up on giving up.’
Each session takes place at the Portsmouth Study Centre, on Tuesdays, between 5pm and 6pm.
Alan will be attending the sessions, along with PompeyQuit advisor Sally Northeast.
She said: ‘It’s a well-known fact that you are four times more likely to quit with support.
‘Giving up smoking is the best thing that people can do for their health and it will help make the family budget stretch further.
‘Alan is a local legend who has battled a lot of things in his life.
‘He is now determined to quit smoking and to help the Pompey faithful kick the habit with him.’
Places are limited on the free session. Those interested in joining can call PompeyQuit on (023) 9236 9234, or email email@example.com.