School of Population Health

Student in lecture theatre

Worldwide survey of education on tobacco in medical schools: twenty years on

This is a 20 year follow up of an original study conducted in 1996 to assess the extent of teaching about tobacco in medical schools worldwide. There is no area of medical education and preventive medicine in which emphasis will yield greater returns in better health, saved lives, and reduced medical costs than the prevention and cessation of tobacco use.


Our first study in 1996 found that most medical schools taught about tobacco by integrating teaching with other modules. Only a third taught about smoking cessation techniques and 12% did not teach about tobacco at all.

>> Please click here to learn more about this first study

Our second study, 10 years later, found an encouraging increase in the extent of teaching on tobacco in medical schools. Of 561 medical schools responding to questions on teaching options, 27% of medical schools taught a specific module on tobacco compared with only 11% in our survey of medical schools conducted a decade ago and 77% integrated teaching on tobacco with other topics compared with 40% 10 years ago.

Significantly, more barriers to teaching were identified by less developed countries including: lack of available teaching time in the medical program, limited organisational ability to include new subjects or  lack of staff resources to teach. A majority described solutions to these problems.

>> Please click here to learn more about this second study

Although progress has been made to address the teaching of tobacco in medical schools worldwide, a great deal more effort is still required so that education on tobacco is an ongoing part of medical curricula. In 2007, there were still 4% of medical schools who responded that did not teach about tobacco at all in their medical program.

Using our database, all medical schools across the globe will be surveyed to determine the extent of teaching on tobacco, as well as challenges and barriers to implementation of a tobacco curriculum.


Are you an academic in a medical school?

To participate in the online survey, please click here.

To learn more about the study, contact Professor Robyn Richmond, Chief Investigator, School of Population Health, UNSW Sydney. Tel: +61 (2) 9385 2512 or email:


Complaints contact

If you have any complaints about any aspect of the project, the way it is being conducted, then you may contact:

Position: Human Research Ethics Coordinator
Telephone: + 61 (2) 9385 6222
HC Reference Number: HC16736