Vapers May Be at Higher Risk for Bladder Cancer

A new bladder cancer study reveals that vapers may be at elevated risk compared to non-smokers and never vapers. Specifically, vaping and bladder cancer may be linked, although smokers too are already known to be at risk.

Scientists conducting a recent meta-analysis of multiple research studies identified six substances strongly linked to bladder cancer in the urine of e-cigarette vapers. To conduct the meta-analysis, the team compiled results from 22 studies that analyzed urine from vapers of e-cigarettes and users of other tobacco products, including traditional cigarettes.

The idea was to uncover any evidence of cancer-linked compounds or their biomarkers and compare smoking and other tobacco consumption methods with vaping. The researchers found six compounds or biomarkers with a strong link to bladder cancer in the urine of vapers.

Smoking vs Vaping and Bladder Cancer

Various health authorities have cautioned the public about health risks of vaping, including possible risk of EVALI. However, there is no definitive safety profile for e-cigarettes like there is for traditional cigarettes. This is in part because there are so many different varieties.

“Smoking is the No.1 modifiable behavioral risk factor for bladder cancer,” study author and UNC School of Medicine said associate professor of urology Marc Bjurlin said in press materials. “There is now evolving literature showing that people who vape may have similar carcinogens in their urine as combustible cigarette users.”

However, researchers are trying to determine what qualities e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes might share—especially since long-term effects won’t become clear for many years. To better understand these kinds of long-term risks, including cancer, the team investigated possible exposure to carcinogens specific to bladder cancer. This is important since the body may process these kinds of substances and then excrete them in urine.

The researchers identified 40 parent compounds the body can process to produce 63 different toxic chemicals. The chemicals themselves remain in the body as carcinogenic metabolites. The team compared their results with carcinogens in known databases and found six with a strong link to bladder cancer.

Study Takeaways

In some studies, the researchers found evidence that vapers had “significantly” higher levels of several carcinogens linked to bladder cancer in their urine compared to never vapers.

“This finding shows us that people who vape will be exposed to a variety of different carcinogens,” Bjurlin said in the materials. “People who have decades of exposure to these carcinogens from vaping may be at risk for developing malignancies, especially bladder cancer.”

There were some limitations to this meta-analysis. First, due to the nature of the different studies, the researchers did not always know the precise levels of all of the cancer-causing substances in the urine of users.

Some studies also included dual users, people who both smoked and vaped. Other studies included former smokers who had switched to vaping—probably a decent-sized group since many former smokers use vaping as a smoking cessation strategy.

“That made it difficult to assess whether the carcinogen found in the urine was actually from the e-cigarette use or from the cigarette use,” Bjurlin said in the materials.

The researchers next want to discover whether there is an exposure threshold for carcinogens that lead bladder cancer.

Related Posts

a woman looks afraid, holding her face, maybe as she experiences temporary psychiatric symptoms like paranoia

Cannabis Linked With Temporary Psychiatric Symptoms

Millions use cannabis worldwide, both recreationally and medically. New research, however, links temporary psychiatric symptoms and cannabis use, even for first time users. This suggests we should see the benefits and risks of cannabis use as a nuanced debate—one that depends in part on the active compounds in the particular cannabis used. Temporary Psychiatric Symptoms A

Read More »
JUUL vape with nicotine vape pods

Young Adults Don’t Always Know What’s In Their Vape Pods

According to new research from a Stanford University team, young adults often don’t know what’s in their nicotine vape pods, including what brand they use. Pod-based e-cigarettes look a lot like thumb drives, but they are vaping devices. They consist of a vaporizer base powered by a rechargeable battery, and vape pods that you snap

Read More »
Vaping vitamin E acetate creates toxic ketene gas

Vaping Vitamin E Acetate Creates Toxic Ketene Gas

We all know that we should avoid vaping anything containing vitamin E acetate, thanks to the vape ban and EVALI scare. New research clarifies that vitamin E acetate, a cutting agent used in some vaping products, can create ketene gas, which is highly toxic, when heated. Vaping Vitamin E Acetate Starting in late summer of

Read More »
Scroll to Top