Effects of smoking and tobacco on nasal carriage and colonisation rates of Staphylococcus aureus were investigated on 368 healthy males aged between 30 and 40 years old. The study group comprised 100 non-smokers (control group), 91 smokers, and 177 cigarette factory workers (42 smokers, 135 non-smokers). Quantitative cultures were done from the nasal swabs of all participants. After identification and determination of colony counts, S. aureus strains were tested for methicillin resistance using the oxacillin disk diffusion method. The rates of nasal carriage of S. aureus were found to be 30% in the control group, 33% in smokers, and 41% in cigarette factory workers. Overall, S. aureus colonisation (> or = 500 cfu/ml) was detected in 72% of the carriers (55/76). Colonisation rates were 43%, 63%, and 85% in the carriers of the study groups, respectively. An increasing colonisation rate was detected in accordance with the increasing number of cigarettes smoked per day, and smoking period. While methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was only found in 3% of the 30 S. aureus strains isolated from the control group, its isolation rate was 20% in the 30 S. aureus isolates of the smokers, and 33% in the 72 S. aureus isolates of the cigarette factory workers. These results indicate that cigarette and/or tobacco appear to have noticeable effects on the ecology of the nose.