Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How Does Cigarette Smoke Affect the Growth of Plants?

Cigarette Smoke

When you smoke a cigarette, you create a cloud of up to 4,000 chemicals including tar, carbon monoxide, pesticides and formaldehyde. Part of this cloud goes into your lungs, coating the cilia with a sticky layer of chemicals containing 43 known carcinogens. The other part of this toxic cloud spreads out into your environment, coating walls, carpets, furniture and plants. Just as cigarettes are harmful to humans, cigarette smoke harms plants’ growth by interfering with their respiration, photosynthesis and nutrition uptake.

Respiration

Plants breathe oxygen through small pores under their leaves called stomata. When someone smokes around plants regularly, the cigarette smoke leaves a fine layer of particles all over the plant’s surface. If a lot of this smoke dust builds up on the leaves, the stomata can get clogged and make the plant’s respiration less effective. Another part of plant respiration is absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. When the leaves and stem are covered in cigarette smoke dust, they cannot release oxygen properly, preventing them from absorbing new carbon dioxide.

  • When you smoke a cigarette, you create a cloud of up to 4,000 chemicals including tar, carbon monoxide, pesticides and formaldehyde.
  • When the leaves and stem are covered in cigarette smoke dust, they cannot release oxygen properly, preventing them from absorbing new carbon dioxide.

Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is the process plants use to create nutrients from light. Plants absorb light through the surface of their leaves. If the leaves are covered with a layer of cigarette smoke, the plant receives less light and begins to starve. Growth and development are affected as the plant begins to compensate for the nutritional deficiencies.

Nutrition Uptake

In addition to the nutrition they create from light, plants take nutrition from the soil through their roots. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke harms beneficial microorganisms in the soil and affects root function. Carbon monoxide can interfere with the plant’s ability to absorb nitrogen by killing the bacteria that fix nitrogen in the soil. Roots can absorb carbon monoxide, resulting in less oxygen and fewer nutrients for the plant.

  • Photosynthesis is the process plants use to create nutrients from light.
  • Roots can absorb carbon monoxide, resulting in less oxygen and fewer nutrients for the plant.

Effects

If a plant doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can cause poor root growth or make the plant weak and discolored. Plants with root damage may not be able to take water effectively and can wilt. Plants that suffer from lack of light can lose their leaves, turn yellow, or grow tall and spindly as they try to grow closer to the light source. Lack of adequate nutrition slows plants’ growth and might stop them from blooming. The effects of chemicals in cigarette smoke are not immediately noticeable, but if a plant becomes heavily coated with cigarette smoke, it can slowly die from starvation, oxygen deprivation and lack of water. If there is a smoker in your house, you can help your plants by wiping their leaves clean once a week to remove smoke particles and dust.

Related Articles

What Part of a Plant Makes Its Food?
What Part of a Plant Makes Its Food?
Why Do Plant Cells Have a Regular Shape?
Why Do Plant Cells Have a Regular Shape?
Salt Water Effects on Plants
Salt Water Effects on Plants
How Do Plants Get Food and Water?
How Do Plants Get Food and Water?
What Are the Starting & Ending Materials of Photosynthesis?
What Are the Starting & Ending Materials of Photosynthesis?
Allergic Reactions to House Plants
Allergic Reactions to House Plants
Importance of Water in Plant Life
Importance of Water in Plant Life
Effects of Ultraviolet Light on Plant Growth
Effects of Ultraviolet Light on Plant Growth
What Are the Functions of the Endodermis of a Root?
What Are the Functions of the Endodermis of a Root?
Sugar Water Effect on Plants
Sugar Water Effect on Plants
Can Gatorade Make Plants Grow Faster?
Can Gatorade Make Plants Grow Faster?
Importance of Water to Plants
Importance of Water to Plants
The Effects of Mineral Water on Plants
The Effects of Mineral Water on Plants
Garden Guides
×