Smoking Increases and Risk for Bladder Cancer Increases Too

In the latest example of all good things eventually coming to an end, smoking is on the increase in America, just one year after the smoking rate in America hit an all-time low. Worst of all, the increased smoking rate brings with it an even greater bladder cancer risk.

Looking back, the year 2008 was historic. Think of it: For the first time since smoking was introduced in the United States, just 20 percent of the population smoked. But with the rate jumping to 21 percent in such a short span of time, this historic moment probably won`t be documented by historians or textbook writers.

Too bad. With all that we now know about the negative health effects of smoking, it`s amazing that people still smoke. Much of this has to do with the addictive nature of cigarettes and nicotine. But it`s also due to the estimated 1,000 people per day that decide to start smoking...despite everything we know about their effects on everything from our oral health to our bowel health.

Because smoking is so intricately tied to negative health effects, the increase has health officials flummoxed. Some theorize that the increase is due to a foolish belief that cigarettes aren`t the health hazard they once were because they`re not as prevalent in society as 20 and 30 years ago and because the FDA regulates tobacco.

But a recent study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute illustrates why this assumption is so foolish.

Perhaps in an attempt to minimize the negative health effects of nicotine (aren`t they noble?), many cigarette makers have decreased the amount of nicotine and tar in their cigarettes. But this has done nothing to decrease the risk of bladder cancer. In fact, the risk for bladder cancer has increased five times over since the mid-1990s.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and several others from the New England area`s departments of health discovered this after conducting a population-based study of smokers in three of the six New England states between 2001 and 2004 (i.e., New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine). They then compared the rates of bladder cancer in this time period with those from two studies conducted between 1994 and 1998 and 1998 and 2001.

Despite the decrease in nicotine and tar content in most cigarettes today compared to yesteryear, researchers believe the increase in bladder cancer cases is likely due to how smokers are smoking cigarettes, where they`re inhaling deeper and more frequently to compensate for the decreased nicotine content. It could also be due to the type of nicotine used. The nicotine in cigarettes today is far more carcinogenic than it was in the 1950s, as it contains more naphthylamine than it did then.

The clear takeaway from this study is that cigarette smoking is still a public health concern and ought to be on public health officials` radar screen with regards to how they can get the smoking rate back down.

In the meantime, health officials should suggest smokers supplement their diet with key nutrients and vitamins that become depleted due to nicotine`s health effects. These include vitamin C with bioflavonoids (about 5,000 to 20,000 mg per day), at least 200 mg of Coenzyme Q10 (among other things, this helps to flush the body of the approximately 4,000 chemical toxins inhaled with each and every cigarette puff) and grape seed extract (studies on grape seed extract report that it has chemopreventive benefits; take the dosage as recommended on label