This study was conducted as a systematic review of all modern literature describing the prevalence of tobacco smoking among dental students. An electronic keyword search of appropriate terms was initially undertaken to identify relevant material, after which the reference lists of manuscripts were also examined to locate additional publications. A total of 27 studies from 19 countries were identified. The earliest manuscripts appeared in 1970, with the most recent being published in 2006. From a global perspective, our review suggests that tobacco smoking is relatively uncommon among contemporary dental students in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Great Britain and the United States. This is not surprising however, as it has previously been noted that dentists generally smoke at one of the lowest rates among all health professionals, and much lower than that of the communities in which they live. Somewhat discouragingly, we did find that smoking remains quite common among dental students in countries such as Greece, Serbia, Romania and Hungary. Given the fact that some of the student body continue to smoke tobacco, it is clear that more aggressive tobacco-specific measures should become a mandatory component of global dental education in future years.