Saying most smokers want to quit and could do so if nicotine wasn't keeping them hooked, the American Medical Association called for the removal of nicotine from tobacco within five to 10 years.

The 290,000-member AMA, the nation's largest professional organization of physicians, represents about 40 percent of U.S. doctors and is a powerful lobbying force and opinion shaper."We know that cigarette companies can remove nicotine from tobacco. They've already done it through a process similar to that which is used to take caffeine out of coffee," said Dr. Ronald Davis, chairman of the AMA's Council on Scientific Affairs.

Whether nicotine should be removed gradually or all at once would need to be decided after more research, Davis said.

In the meantime, the AMA wants the government to require tobacco companies to put labels on their products so users would know not only the quantity of nicotine but also whether it is relatively high or low.