Smokers have much higher odds of developing bladder cancer than previously believed according to new research from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Neal D. Freedman, an investigator with the institute and an author of the study claims that they have found that current smokers were four times as likely to develop bladder cancer compared with people who never smoked and that former smokers had 2.2 times the risk. While cigarettes are more typically associated with lung cancer, researchers have known for years that smoking also raises the risk of bladder cancer among both men and women. Previous studies based on people who smoked prior to the 1990's had put the risk for smokers at about three times the risk seen among nonsmokers. The researchers are speculating that this new, larger risk may be a reflection of the more toxic chemicals added to cigarettes nowadays--some of which may specifically have a link to bladder cancer. Bowing to public pressure, many cigarette makers have cut bank on tar and nicotine in recent years, but changes in cigarette design have led to increased concentrations of chemicals in cigarette smoke, like beta-napthylamine, that raise the risk of bladder cancer. Dr. Freedman says "the best way to prevent bladder cancer is for people NOT to smoke. The National Cancer Institute reports that there were 69,250 new cases of bladder cancer and 14,900 deaths from the disease in 2011 alone! Mayo Clinic out in Rochester, Minnesota says that symptoms of bladder cancer may include frequent or painful urination, blood in the urine, back pain or abdominal pain. People older than 40 are more likely to get bladder cancer, as are men, smokers, Whites, people with chronic bladder inflammation and a family history of the disease. As a former smoker myself, what it took for me to quit was a diagnosis of bladder cancer. Hopefully you won't have to learn the hard way like I did.