Urban air quality is one of the key factors affecting human health. Turkey has transformed itself into an urban society over the last 30 years. At the same time, air pollution has become a serious impairment to health in many urban areas in the country. This is due to many reasons. In this study, a nonparametric evaluation was conducted of health effects that are triggered by urban air pollution. Nigde, the city which is the administrative centre of Nigde province was chosen of the effects of air pollution since, like many central Turkish cities, it is situated on a valley where atmospheric inversion occurs. In this paper, the relationship between ambient urban air quality, namely PM10 and sulphur dioxide (SO2), and human health, specifically asthma, during the winter season is examined. Air pollution data and asthma cases from 2006 to 2010 are covered in this study. The results of our study indicate that total asthma cases reported in Nigde between 2008 and 2010 were highly dependent on ambient SO2 concentration. More asthma cases were recorded when 30 mu g m(-3) or higher SO2 was present in the ambient air than those recorded under cleaner ambient air conditions. Moreover, it was determined that in Nigde in 2010, asthma cases reported in males aged between 45 and 64 were closely correlated with ambient SO2 (alpha = 0.05).