Panel studies show a consistent association between increase in the cardiovascular hospitalizations with air pollutants in economically developed regions, but little evidence in less developed inland areas. In this study, a time-series analysis was used to examine the specific effects of major air pollutants [particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM(10)), sulfur dioxide (SO(2)), and nitrogen dioxides (NO(2))] on daily hospital admissions for cardio-cerebrovascular diseases in Lanzhou, a heavily polluted city in China. We examined the effects of air pollutants for stratified groups by age and gender, and conducted the modifying effect of seasons on air pollutants to test the possible interaction. The significant associations were found between PM(10), SO(2) and NO(2) and cardiac disease admissions, SO(2) and NO(2) were found to be associated with the cerebrovascular disease admissions. The elderly was associated more strongly with gaseous pollutants than younger. The modifying effect of seasons on air pollutants also existed. The significant effect of gaseous pollutants (SO(2) and NO(2)) was found on daily hospital admissions even after adjustment for other pollutants except for SO(2) on cardiac diseases. In a word, this study provides the evidence for the detrimental short-term health effects of urban gaseous pollutants on cardio-cerebrovascular diseases in Lanzhou.