As Christmas approaches, the AMA is putting the challenge out to all smokers to give their family and friends the best present ever - quit smoking.
"Top of the list of gift ideas has got to be making a commitment to your family, and to yourself, to quit smoking in 2009," said AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua.
AdvertisementShe said today's report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare that revealed lung cancer is outstripping breast cancer as a killer of women emphasised the need for Australians to tackle this dangerous habit right now.
Dr Capolingua urged smokers to think about quitting as something not just for themselves but also for the important people in their lives.
"Smokers need to think about the consequences of their addiction - how it does and will impact on the people close to them.
"This is not just about the very real health risks of passive smoking, it's about the example you set for those around you, particularly kids, and the worry you cause your loved ones by smoking.
"Smokers also need to seriously consider the risks to their own health and how this will impact on their family.
"Smoking is a death-sentence - you're actively sacrificing years you could spend with your loved ones.
"By quitting, you will reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, blindness, sexual dysfunction and infertility to name just a few. Quitting is the best favor you can do yourself, and it is never too late or too early to quit.
"There is no better present to friends and family than making the commitment to be healthier, and live longer."
Dr Capolingua reminded smokers that quitting was a difficult challenge, but that there are many different support services available to help people give up the cigarettes.
"The holidays, when you are away from your usual routine, can be an excellent time to break the habit," she said.
"It may take more than one attempt, but if you have tried before then you'll probably be better at devising coping strategies for the situations that are most difficult for you. The more often you try, the greater your chance of success.
"First, talk to your GP. Your doctor can help put together a plan to get you to quit and stay smoke-free and can give you a program and advice on products to help wean you off nicotine, and can refer you to other health services.
"Regular checkups with your doctor while you're quitting can help you measure your progress, address any concerns you may have, and help you stay on-track.
"It could be your best ever gift to your family."