A cross-sectional prospective study was conducted between the period December 1991 and November 1992, to identify the extent of smoking among practising doctors and other health professionals in general hospitals and health clinics in Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates. The study population consisted of 300 health professionals (doctors, specialists both clinical and non-clinical, pharmacists and dentists). They were handed self-administered questionnaires adapted from the World Health Organization standard questionnaire on smoking among health professionals. Among the responding 268 (89%) health professionals 197 (73.5%) were men, and 71 (26.5%) women. Among the men health professionals 86 (43.7%) were current smokers, 24 (12.2%) were ex-smokers and 87 (44.2%) were non-smokers, while among the women health professionals 4 (5.6%) were smokers, 1 (1.4%) was an cx-smoker and 66 (93%) were non-smokers. Doctors were uniformly aware of the detrimental effects of smoking, particularly its association with lung cancer, coronary artery disease, chronic bronchitis, and laryngeal cancer, and this was the major reason for their abstaining or wanting to quit the habit. The relationship of smoking with bladder cancer, soft tissue lesion (mouth and lip) and neonatal death was not well appreciated. Counselling patients about the hazards of smoking was practised significantly less often by doctors who smoked. The majority (83-6%) expressed the need for specific training for counselling patients to stop smoking. The options favoured by the health professionals for preventing smoking included a ban on tobacco advertising, specific health warnings on cigarette packets and restriction on smoking in public places, particularly in hospitals and clinics.