AIMS: The present study was done to build a database on prevalence of tobacco use among students of grade 8 to 10 in Chennai city, for the purpose of advocacy of tobacco control and planning tobacco control interventions and evaluation. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A two-stage stratified probability sample of students in grades 8-10 corresponding to 13 to 15 years of age were selected from private/government aided private schools and purely government aided corporation schools. Data was collected by a pretested, closed-ended self-administered questionnaire. RESULTS: A total of 1255 students participated in this survey. Among them 64.4 boys and 35.6% were girls. Ever tobacco use was reported by 37.6% of the students (41.6 males and 30.2% females). Current users of tobacco (any products) were reported by 41.1% of the students. Prevalence was more among boy students (46.3%) when compared to that of girl students (31.6%). There existed no significant difference between current users of tobacco based on the zones of the school. Tobacco users prevalence was found more in corporation schools when compared to that of private schools. Parental and friends tobacco use was reported more often by tobacco users compared to never users. Purchasing tobacco products in a store was reported by 82.5% and almost no one was refused because of age. Almost everyone reported watching a lot of cigarette advertisements on TV, whereas about half reported watching advertisements on other medias like outdoor hoardings (45.7%), newspapers (65.3%) and social events (67.4%). CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that among the 13 to 15-year old school going children (corresponding to grades 8 to 10) in Chennai city, the current tobacco use is high.