Welcome to the GERD/Heartburn Forum! You're definitely in the right place. Yes, peppermint is a hugs GERD trigger. Be sure to stay away from it! I could never figure out why Maalox had a peppermint flavor option, since most people using it are probably dealing with reflux. It does have a cooling feel, but it relaxes your LES (the valve that holds stomach acid where it belongs).
You're right in thinking about quitting smoking. I'm sure you've read that it also contributes to reflux. I've never been a smoker, but it is clear that it's really hard to quit. It would be great if you could stop--for more than one reason. I think there are lots of support systems out there to help. I don't know anything about the electric cigarettes, so I can't help you there.
I did find this in a research journal online:
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Smoking causes some physiologic effects that could potentially worsen gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It decreases the lower esophageal sphincter pressure and increases the number of reflux episodes.[56,57] As a consequence, patients with GERD are asked to stop smoking in an attempt to improve their symptoms. Nicotine might be responsible for the effects of smoking on GERD. Nicotine patches produce a decrease in distal esophageal peristalsis and sphincter pressure, resulting in reflux.[58,59] This is probably the result of nicotine-mediated release of NO at the lower esophageal sphincter. As already mentioned, nicotine affects other factors that might be important in reflux, such as gastric acid secretion, pepsinogen, mucus, and prostaglandins.
Everyone is different. While some triggers are universal, others are unique to each person.
Here's a list I found on the internet:
Foods to Avoid on an Acid Reflux Diet
A GERD diet isn't very complicated; it simply avoids or limits the consumption of foods known to trigger acid reflux. Fried and fatty foods are common GERD triggers, and simply limiting consumption of these two groups can improve GERD symptoms, as well as improving overall health.
Other dietary acid reflux triggers include:
* Caffeinated beverages
* Citrus fruits and juices
* Onions and garlic
* Spicy food
* Tea and coffee
* Tomatoes and tomato-based foods.
I'm sure you'll get lots of other advice and support from forum members. This is a great forum, and it has helped me tremendously. It's very active, and you're sure to get additional responses to your request for information.
Best wishes, Naptown! I hope you find answers to your questions and find relief.