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New Study Says E-Cigarettes May Increase Your Risk of Cancer

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There's nothing quite like strolling outside on a beautiful spring day, hearing the birds chirp, feeling the sunshine on your face, inhaling the fresh air... and the e-cigarette smoke from the guy in front of you.

Crying, " second-hand smoke!!!" is understandable when it comes to traditional cigs—but the e-cig (or "vaping") code of conduct isn't yet set in stone. Because these techie smoking tools are fairly new, there's still a lot we don't know about the health risks, but the common thought is that they're at least less horrible for you than regular cigarettes (and smell better, for the most part). (Here are the e-cigarette health basics you really need to know.)

But the latest scientific research demonstrates some real risks. E-cigarettes may be linked to a higher bladder cancer risk, according to two new studies presented today at the 112th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA).

Researchers compared the urine of e-cig smokers to that of non-smokers, examining for five known bladder carcinogenic (a.k.a. cancer-causing) compounds present in either traditional cigarettes or common e-cig liquids. The results were pretty clear; two of those five cancerous compounds were found in 92 percent of e-cig users' urine.

That's not all. Since 90 percent of inhaled nicotine is excreted in your urine, other researchers from New York University decided to see whether e-cig smoke induces DNA damage in the bladder lining. They found that e-cig smoke does indeed induce tumor-causing damage to DNA in the bladder lining, as well as inhibits the repair of DNA, and makes DNA more susceptible to mutation. Translation: cancer risk goes all the way up. (ICYMI, regular smoking changes your DNA too, even long after you quit.)

"These studies raise new concerns about the harmful impact of e-cigarettes on bladder cancer," said Sam S. Chang, MD, MBA, professor of urologic surgery at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, in a release. "We've known traditional smoking raises bladder cancer risk, and given the surge in popularity of e-cigarettes, it's imperative we uncover any potential links to e-cigarette smoke and bladder cancer. This research underscores the importance of smoking cessation (of both traditional and e-cigarettes) for people with bladder cancer, and people looking to avoid it."

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