How Smoking Cigarettes Effects Plants

Increased Carbon Dioxide

Smoke of all kinds, including cigarette smoke, increases the amount of carbon dioxide where it is present (since smoke is itself produced via combustion). Plants use carbon dioxide to make sugars (during photosynthesis). Its increased abundance, therefore, makes it easier for the plant to obtain. Thus, smoking near a plant actually makes it easier for that plant to obtain much-needed carbon dioxide.

Hampering Photosynthesis

At the same time, however, cigarette smoke hampers the plant's ability to carry out photosynthesis itself. Over time, the particles from the cigarette smoke coat the surface of the leaf, stunting the photosynthesis process, which relies on the plant's ability to absorb sunlight from its leafy surfaces. Some plants have especially fuzzy leaves, however, and these are less affected by this slow coating.

Clogging Stomatal Pores

Aside from the smoke, the tar that cigarettes release into the air is particularly damaging to plants. This tar works to clog the stomatal pores of plants, located on the leaves. These pores are the gateway into which both carbon dioxide and oxygen are brought into the plant, the first for purposes of photosynthesis and the second for purposes of respiration. Cigarette smoke, therefore, is detrimental to the proper functioning of both these processes.

Keywords: cigarette smoke plants, plants smoke, smoking affect plants

About this Author

William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Asian studies from Brigham Young University and a Master of Arts in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.