Abstract Several airway afferent nerve subtypes have been implicated in coughing. These include bronchopulmonary C-fibers, rapidly adapting airway mechanorecep-tors and touch-sensitive tracheal Aδ-fibers (also called cough receptors). Although the last two afferent nerve subtypes are primarily sensitive to mechanical stimuli, all can be acted upon by one or more different chemical stimuli. In this review we catalogue the chemical agents that stimulate and/or modulate the activity of the airway afferent nerves involved in cough, and describe the specific mechanisms involved in these effects. In addition, we describe the mechanisms of action of a number of chemical inhibitors of these afferent nerve subtypes, and attempt to relate this information to the regulation of coughing in health and disease.