A survey was undertaken of the policies and practices concerning organisation and implementation of health education and health promotion in schools in 151 of the total 213 Local Educational Areas (LEAs) in Stockholm county in 1990. Health education was included in the workplan of 49% of the responding LEAs, while 39% of respondents had a local action programme or guidelines for health education. Topic areas taught to all pupils and considered most important included alcohol, drug abuse, smoking, sex education, bullying, nutrition and physical exercise. Most senior level schools (55-83%) had written policies concerning pupils using alcohol, drugs or smoking in school, and 68% of LEAs had restrictions on staff smoking in school. Continuing health education was desired by 87% of the respondents. A written programme/plan regarding health education was identified as an important indicator of interest and commitment in health education and health policy issues by the local school.