How does cigarette smoking affect plants?

Yesterday, a classmate posted a blog about whether or not cigarette smoke is harmful to our household pets, like cats and dogs. Corey came to the conclusion that yes, a household pet living in an environment with significant cigarette smoke can lead to an increase in the risk for different lung related diseases in pets. Corey’s post gave me a thought that I chose to investigate for one of my blog posts, does cigarette smoke also cause a negative effect on plants and flowers that we keep in our homes?

Many studies have been conducted to determine whether smoke from forest fires can cause harm to trees (like this one from the International Journal of Forestry Research). These studies have found that regular wood-burning smoke can have negative effects on the photosynthesis levels of trees and how efficiently they grow. Although these results appear very conclusive, I am still left wondering whether cigarette smoke might have a more destructive effect on plants due to the harmful chemical makeup in them.

In an experiment conducted by Victoria Garcia, she found that in a closed environment, cigarette smoke stunted the growth of cabbage and celery plants. In her experiment, cigarettes were placed in very close proximity to the plants whereas in a common household, the smoke would not be so close to the plants because smoke would just linger in the air in a larger environment. Unfortunately, this is as far as the research in this field goes.

If I were able to conduct a study to test my hypothesis that stems from the idea that cigarette smoke is harmful to household pets, I would need a large environment and a control group along with the experimental group that has cigarette smoke in the environment. Over time, I would measure whether the growth of common household plants or flowers was stunted when exposed to cigarette smoke for 10 minutes every 2 hours. My hypothesis would be that, yes, tobacco smoke and the other lethal chemicals in cigarettes negatively effect the growth of household plants. I’m disappointed that I could not come to a definitive conclusion in this blog post, but I believe that this could be the beginning of an interesting discussion about the further effects of cigarette smoke on not just ourselves and our pets, but also our green and leafy friends as well!


Plant Smoking for SC200