There is little information regarding associations between suspected bladder cancer risk factors and tumor subtypes at diagnosis. Some, but not all, studies have found that bladder cancer among smokers is often more invasive than it is among nonsmokers. This population-based case-control study was conducted in Los Angeles, California, involving 1,586 bladder cancer patients and their individually matched controls. Logistic regression was used to conduct separate analyses according to tumor subtypes defined by stage and grade. Cigarette smoking increased risk of both superficial and invasive bladder cancer, but the more advanced the stage, the stronger the effect. The odds ratios associated with regular smokers were 2.2 (95% confidence intervals, 1.8–2.8), 2.7 (2.1–3.6) and 3.7 (2.5–5.5) for low-grade superficial, high-grade superficial and invasive tumors respectively. This pattern was consistently observed regardless of the smoking exposure index under examination. Women had higher risk of invasive bladder cancer than men even they smoked comparable amount of cigarettes as men. There was no gender difference in the association between smoking and risk of low-grade superficial bladder cancer. The heterogeneous effect of cigarette smoking was attenuated among heavy users of NSAIDs. Our results indicate that cigarette smoking was more strongly associated with increased risk of invasive bladder cancer than with low-grade superficial bladder cancer.