Medical students have poor knowledge of cigarette-related diseases and tend to increase tobacco use as they progress through their course. The aims of this review are to describe the process of developing a tobacco curriculum, present a model of implementation, and apply the model to China. The process of developing, revising and implementing a tobacco curriculum called the Smokescreen Education Program (SEP) for medical students is described. It comprises a lecture and six-part tutorial. Dissemination of the SEP occurred through doctors who translated and introduced the tobacco curriculum into different countries and through the conduct of workshops. A six-point model of implementation was developed that included defining the extent of the tobacco problem in medical schools, developing a flexible curriculum on tobacco, developing networks in countries, working as a resource, and following up after training and evaluating success. The model is applied to China. The SEP was developed over a decade and has led to the development of a practical model of dissemination.