In this paper the association between smoking history, beverage consumption, diet and bladder cancer incidence is systematically reviewed. A rating system has been used to summarise the level of scientific evidence (i.e. convincing, probable, possible, and no evidence) and the level of association (i.e. substantially increased, (RR> or =2.5), moderately increased (1.5< or =RR<2.5), slightly increased (1.2< or =RR<1.5), no association (0.8< or =RR<1.2), slightly decreased (0.7< or =RR<0.8), moderately decreased (0.4< or =RR<0.7), and substantially decreased (RR<0.4)). There is convincing evidence that cigarette smoking status, frequency and duration substantially increase the risk of bladder cancer. However, the evidence is not clear for other forms of smoking. A small increased risk for cigar, pipe, and environmental smoking is only possible. There is possible evidence that total fluid intake is not associated with bladder cancer. Although there is convincing evidence for a positive association between alcohol consumption and bladder cancer risk in men, the risk is small and not clinically relevant. Coffee and tea consumption are probably not associated with bladder cancer. The authors conclude that total fruit consumption is probably associated with a small decrease in risk. There is probably no association between total vegetable intake, vitamin A intake, vitamin C intake and bladder cancer and a possibly moderate inverse association with vitamin E intake. Folate is possibly not associated with bladder cancer. There probably is a moderate inverse association between selenium intake and bladder cancer risk.