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e-Cigarettes Tied to Lung, Bladder Cancer in Survey Study

The study covered in this summary was published on as a preprint and has not yet been peer reviewed.

Key Takeaway

  • After adjusting for histories of other types of smoking, e-cigarettes were found to be independently associated with an increased risk of lung and bladder cancer.

Why This Matters

  • Because of the relatively recent introduction of e-cigarettes, not much evidence on the relationship between e-cigarettes and cancer exists.

  • The findings warrant additional studies of the public health effects of these largely unregulated products.

Study Design

  • Investigators analyzed self-reported smoking behaviors as well as lung and bladder cancer diagnoses among adults in the National Health Interview Survey database from 2016–2018.

Key Results

  • About half of 85,187 respondents reported a history of smoking: 40% reported a history of cigarette smoking, and almost 15% reported a history of e-cigarette use.

  • On multivariable logistic regression, e-cigarette smoking on its own was associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer (odds ratio [OR], 1.58) and lung cancer (OR, 1.61), although the increased risk was lower than with cigarettes (OR, 2.48 for bladder cancer; OR, 4.59 for lung cancer).

  • Patients with a history of e-cigarette smoking, in comparison with those with no history of e-cigarette smoking, were significantly younger at bladder cancer diagnosis (57 vs 65 years).

  • Cigar and pipe smoking also increased the risk of lung and bladder cancer.


  • Data were self-reported.

  • The temporal relationship between smoking and cancer diagnosis was unknown.

  • Information on other cancer risks factors, such as family history, was lacking.

  • Socioeconomic data were not available.


  • There was no funding for the work, and the investigators have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

This is a summary of a preprint research study, “Are e-Cigarette Users at an Increased Risk of Bladder and Lung Cancer?,” led by Michael Joseph Herriges of the University of Toledo, Ohio. The study has not been peer reviewed. The full text can be found at

M. Alexander Otto is a physician assistant with a master’s degree in medical science and a journalism degree from Newhouse. He is an award-winning medical journalist who has worked for several major news outlets before joining Medscape and also an MIT Knight Science Journalism fellow. Email:

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