BACKGROUND: Healthcare professionals have an important role to play both asadvisers-influencing smoking cessation-and as role models. However, many of them continue to smoke. The aims of this study were to examine smoking prevalence,knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours among four cohorts physicians specializingin public health, according to the Global Health Profession Students Survey(GHPSS) approach.MATERIALS AND METHODS: A multicentre cross-sectional study was carried out in 24 Italian schools of public health. The survey was conducted between January andApril 2012 and it was carried out a census of students in the selected schoolsfor each years of course (from first to fourth year of attendance), thereforeamong four cohorts of physicians specializing in Public Health (for a total of n.459 medical doctors). The GHPSS questionnaires were self-administered via aspecial website which is created ad hoc for the survey. Logistic regression modelwas used to identify possible associations with tobacco smoking status.Hosmer-Lemeshow test was performed. The level of significance was P ≤ 0.05.RESULTS: A total of 388 answered the questionnaire on the website (85%), of which81 (20.9%) declared to be smokers, 309 (79.6%) considered health professionals asbehavioural models for patients, and 375 (96.6%) affirmed that healthprofessionals have a role in giving advice or information about smokingcessation. Although 388 (89.7%) heard about smoking related issues duringundergraduate courses, only 17% received specific smoking cessation trainingduring specialization.CONCLUSIONS: The present study highlights the importance of focusing attention onsmoking cessation training, given the high prevalence of smokers among physiciansspecializing in public health, their key role both as advisers and behaviouralmodels, and the limited tobacco training offered in public health schools.