BACKGROUND: Smoking is a high risk factor for various chronic diseases. Therefore, physicians are expected to play a critical role in patients smoking cessation. There have been a number of studies which show that cessation recommendation by physicians is effective for patients to stop smoking. The purpose of this study is to assess physicians smoking status and its effect on physicians attitude for their advice to patients to quit smoking. METHODS: During August and September in 1995, self-report questionnaire was distributed to doctors in Jin-Gu, Pusan. It consisted of inquiries on their demographic features, their smoking status, whether physicians ask patients their smoking status or not, whether physicians advise patients to quit smoking or not, and whether physicians confirm patients smoking cessation. Among 203 responses returned, 193 cases was analyzed. RESULTS: Among the total 193 persons, 60 persons are smoking now(31.4%, Men 34.5%, women 0%), and 88 persons(67.2%) are ex-smoker. 84.1% of smokers have tried to quit smoking, and stress was the most common reason for failure. Smoking rate and experience rate were higher in men than in women(P<0.001), but there were no significant differences in smoking rate and experience rate according to ages, religions, specialties, hospital types, and positions. Among responders 144 cases(75.0%) asked smoking status of patients. 21.4% of them asked smoking status of all patients who may smoke, and 25.0% of them hardly ask smoking status of patients. For question about patients' smoking status, the younger physicians were more active in asking smoking status of patients(p=0.038), and the physicians in hospital did much more than physicians in university hospital and private clinics(p=0.015). Among responders, 161 persons(84.7%) advised patients to quit smoking, and 19.5% of them advised to quit smoking for all patients who smoked. However, 15.3% of them hardly gave patients such suggestion. It was found that there was no significant relationship between physicians smoking status and attitudes toward giving patients suggestion to quit smoking. CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed that there was no significant relationship between physicians smoking status and their attitudes toward giving patients suggestion to quit smoking, and physicians smoking status did not have any effect on smoking cessation advice. However, this study does not exclude the possibility that the results might be reversed, if the census would be extended to broader area. Physicians should take an active role against smoking.