Frequently Asked Questions

Does Smokeless Tobacco Really Affect Acid Reflux?

Acid Reflux

If you have ever read an article about acid reflux or if you have ever gone to your doctor because of acid reflux/GERD one of the first things they will often ask you is if you smoke.

The reason they usually ask this is because regular smoking can affect and induce acid reflux effects like heart burn for example. So, from that we know smoking is bad for acid reflux but why is it bad and is there any difference between smoking and chewing tobacco? Let me cover that below.

Smoking Tobacco

The first and most important thing to mention about tobacco is that it contains nicotine as I am sure you already knew.

The thing that perhaps you didn’t know is that nicotine is thought to help relax the valve above the stomach known as the lower esophageal sphincter or LES for short. The thing with the LES is that it needs to remain tight to stop any acid from refluxing up into the esophagus to prevent acid reflux symptoms like heartburn.

So, if the nicotine causes the LES to relax this then means more likelihood of acid reflux symptoms.

The second thing to mention here is that the smoke itself can cause the mouth, throat and the esophagus to become drier. This is often due to lesser salvia production because of the smokes effect. Because it’s drier it means less mucus and salvia in the esophagus when means less protection against the acid reflux. Therefore, you basically have a negative double whammy effect.

Chewing Tobacco

When comparing smoking with chewing tobacco there are a couple of notable differences. When chewing your mouth won’t be as dry as when smoking and also you don’t have the negative effects of the smoke affecting your esophagus and throat.

The other difference when considering acid reflux is that the nicotine is released constantly when chewing, which means more nicotine is released over a long period of time, which then could mean more likelihood of acid reflux because of the effects of the nicotine.

Overall when compared with smoking chewing tobacco is probably a slightly better option than smoking for both overall health and acid reflux though both clearly have a negative effect that ideally you want to stop or avoid.


In conclusion any kind of tobacco is not a good idea for sufferers of acid reflux. In fact, for certain people simply stopping the tobacco intake could stop any acid reflux symptoms. On a final note stopping tobacco won’t be the simple solution for everyone though it definitely will have a positive impact on your health in the long run!

NOTE: This piece written by Health Blogger and Reflux Expert David Gray –

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