One of the strategies to reduce the number of smoking-related deaths is to encourage the involvement of health professionals in tobacco-use prevention and cessation counselling. The World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Canadian Public Health Association developed the Global Health Professionals Survey (GHPS) to collect data on tobacco use and cessation counselling among health-profession students in all WHO member states. This report summarises findings from the GHPS Pilot Study, which consisted of 16 surveys conducted in 10 countries among third year students in four health-profession disciplines (dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy) during the first quarter of 2005. The findings indicated that current cigarette smoking among these students was higher than 20% in seven of the 10 countries surveyed. Nevertheless, 87-99% of the students surveyed believed they should have a role in counselling patients to quit smoking; only 5-37% of these third-year students had actually received formal training in how to conduct such counselling. Schools for health professionals, public health organisations, and education officials should work together to design and implement training in smoking cessation counselling for all health-profession students.