Abnormal expression of miRNAs has been implicated in the pathogenesis of human lung cancers, most of which are attributable to cigarette smoke. The mechanisms of action, however, remain obscure. Here, we report that there are decreased expression of miR-218 and increased expression of EZH2 and H3K27me3 during cigarette smoke extract (CSE)-induced transformation of human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells. Depletion of EZH2 by siRNA or by the EZH2 inhibitor, 3-deazaneplanocin A, attenuated CSE-induced decreases of miR-218 levels and increases of H3K27me3, which epigenetically controls gene transcription, and BMI1, an oncogene. Furthermore, ChIP assays demonstrated that EZH2 and H3K27me3 are enriched at the miR-218-1 promoter in HBE cells exposed to CSE, indicating that EZH2 mediates epigenetic silencing of miR-218 via histone methylation. In addition, miR-218 directly targeted BMI1, through which miR-218 ablates cancer stem cells (CSCs) self-renewal in transformed HBE cells. In CSE-transformed HBE cells, the protein level of Oct-4 and mRNA levels of CD133 and CD44, indicators of the acquisition of CSC-like properties, were reduced by over-expression of miR-218, and over-expression of miR-218 decreased the malignancy of transformed HBE cells. Thus, we conclude that epigenetic silencing of miR-218 via EZH2-mediated H3K27 trimethylation is involved in the acquisition of CSC-like properties and malignant transformation of HBE cells induced by CSE and thereby contributes to the carcinogenesis of cigarette smoke.