Background. To determine attitudes towards smoking, perception of self-efficacy, and the intention of smoking cessation in college student smokers, and their variation according to the stage of the tobacco cessation process. Methods. Cross-sectional study with 255 college students (18-24 years old) smokers of >= 1 cigarette per week. Instruments used: a personal interview, Fagestrom test, transtheoretical change model, scale of Attitudes, self-efficacy and intention to quit smoking in college smokers and CO in exhaled air. Results. Sample with a majority of women (62%), average age 20.3 years, users of 9.2 cigarettes/day for 5.7 years, with mild dependence on nicotine; 69% were in the stages of pre-contemplation and contemplation. Although smoking was considered to be negative for health and the environment for more than 70%, and 96.7% had negative attitudes towards tobacco, only 45.1% were aware of the associated morbidity and mortality. More than 60% considered tobacco to be a social facilitator, thus anxiety (72.6%) and having friends who smoke (69.4%) are factors considered negative for tobacco cessation. Ninety-one percent believed that they would smoke next year, but 86% stated that they would not be a smoker within five years. One hundred percent of the subjects in pre-contemplation considered that they will smoke during the next year as opposed to 83.5% of those in the stage of preparation. Conclusion. College student smokers show positive attitudes, erroneous beliefs and a low perception of self-efficacy about smoking cessation. All students in the pre-contemplation phase do not even consider smoking cessation in the medium and long term.