Perceived nasal and bronchial hyperresponsiveness to tobacco smoke and cold air were assessed in 912 working men in the Paris area. Baseline lung function measurements and peripheral leucocyte counts with standard differential counts were performed. At least one perceived nasal or bronchial hyperresponsiveness symptom was reported by 15.7%. Current smoking was significantly less frequent among those with cough induced by tobacco smoke. Rhinitis induced by cold air was associated with lower FEV1 (p less than 0.01) and the association remained after adjustment for smoking, asthma, and wheezing (p = 0.06). Symptoms induced by cold air were related to circulating basophils. Neither perceived nasal nor perceived bronchial hyperresponsiveness was significantly related to the airway response to methacholine in a sample of the group (n = 324) surveyed again five years later. The result suggest that the symptom of rhinitis provoked by cold air is a possible "new" risk factor or marker for chronic airflow limitation.
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