Worldwide survey of education on tobacco in medical schools

Robyn L. Richmond*, Deborah S. Debono, Donna Larcos, Linda Kehoe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives - To determine the extent of teaching about tobacco, tobacco-related diseases, and smoking cessation techniques in medical schools around the world; and to ascertain the problems of getting the teaching about tobacco onto the medical curriculum. Design - Cross-sectional survey. Questionnaires were sent to the 1353 medical schools in 143 countries around the world using the World Health Organization's Directory of Medical Schools. The questionnaire was translated from English into French, Russian, Mandarin, and Japanese. Subjects - Deans of medical schools worldwide, or their nominees. Main outcome measures - Extent and format of teaching about tobacco in the medical curriculum, objectives and content of the courses on tobacco, and problems encountered in introducing the topic of tobacco. Results - 493 medical schools responded, representing 64% of countries and 36% of schools. Only 12% of medical schools did not cover the topic of tobacco in the medical curriculum. 58% of medical schools taught about tobacco during the teaching of other subjects. 40% taught tobacco by systematically integrating teaching with other modules. 11% had a specific module on tobacco. The medical schools reported on the objectives and content of their courses on tobacco, which commonly included knowledge about tobacco-related diseases and pharmacological issues. Only a third taught about smoking cessation techniques. 22% had encountered problems in introducing the topic of tobacco, and respondents offered solutions to overcome these problems. Conclusions - Medical schools need continued encouragement to include tobacco issues in their curricula, with particular emphasis on teaching about smoking cessation techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-252
Number of pages6
JournalTobacco Control
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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