Why Tobacco May Make Heartburn Worse?

Heartburn is a common problem amongst several people. Particularly, the aging population experiences heartburn very often. While for some heartburn may just be a common problem, some may have serious underlying problems too. Similarly for some people, heartburn may simply be a result of fault dietary habits and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Some studies have also shown that heartburn is a common problem in people who smoke cigarettes or are exposed to tobacco in some form or the other. Learn why tobacco may make heartburn worse and cause more trouble for you in the future.

Though some of the best measures to reduce and even cure heartburn include limiting consumption of junk food, losing all those extra pounds and also raising the bed’s head, sometimes this troublesome problem simply refuses to go away. Blame your unhealthy lifestyle choices, which have become a part of your life. The next time you think of changing your antacids try something else which will be far more effective than anything else: quit smoking. It is important to know why tobacco may make heartburn worse and the reason you need to quit smoking.

Why Tobacco May Make Heartburn Worse?

Why Tobacco May Make Heartburn Worse?

Recent studies reveal that smokers run a much higher risk of suffering from acid reflux as compared to non-smokers. An acid reflux is a condition where the acid content from your stomach leaks in the upward direction to food pipe, which helps food to travel down. This tube is known as esophagus. One of the most common symptoms of an acid reflux is heart burn wherein you feel a burning sensation in your chest. Though other factors such as too much alcohol or caffeine consumption also play a vital role in causing heart burn, there is no doubt that tobacco may make your heart burn worse than ever.

Here are some possibilities, which is why tobacco may make heartburn worse.

  • Relaxed Muscles – Nicotine is a major component of tobacco. It has the ability to relax the muscles rings located in the lower part of esophagus. This helps to keep the acid where it belongs, which is in the stomach. On relaxation, the rings allow the acid to come up via the esophagus thereby causing heartburn in the form of a burning sensation.This is one of the main reasons why tobacco may make your heart burn worse in most people.
  • Mouth Dryness – Excessive smoking also causes the mouth to spit lesser than normal. This results in more heartburn symptoms since saliva has the ability to offset the acid but is unable to do so due to the tobacco. This is another reason why tobacco may make heart burn worse.

Moreover, tobacco prevents the production of those substance which help protect you from stomach acid in the first place. Every time a smoker coughs loudly, the acid reflux increases even more and so does the abdominal pressure thereby sending the acid upwards. This causes the heart burn to occur rapidly and worsen over time.

Why is Tobacco Chewing Harmful?

When an individual chews tobacco or nicotine gum, the nicotine present in it gets released almost instantly and constantly thereby causing more heartburn. On the other hand, nicotine patches and gums are far safer for your general health and have also been proven to reduce the chances of getting a heart burn by almost half. If you are to choose between smoking a cigarette and a nicotine gum, you should undoubtedly go for the latter, if advised so by your physician. This was ascertained by a study where it was found that people who used a nicotine patch were at no increased risk of getting a heart burn soon after. Also, a nicotine patch was proven to harm the lungs 30 percent less as compared to tobacco. The best possible way to quit smoking for every person can be suggested by the treating doctor. But the fact remains that tobacco may make heartburn worse and must be stopped at the earliest. So, follow medical advice and be determined about quitting smoking.


While quitting tobacco helps to reduce heart burn in most cases, for some, with other underlying causes, may need further evaluation and treatment. But, to quit smoking can surely be the first positive step towards an overall healthy life. Also, try to lose those extra pounds if you are overweight as that too helps to a great extent in relieving heartburn. Faulty diet, spicy foods, late night dinners, lack of exercise, etc. also contribute to make heartburn worse. So, plan a healthy lifestyle with the help of an expert. Now that you know why tobacco may make your heart burn worse, you can appreciate why eating a balanced diet, leading a healthy lifestyle and saying no to both alcohol and tobacco is the key to reducing heart burn and other acid reflux symptoms.

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 5, 2017

Recent Posts

Related Posts