Does Cigarette Smoke from My Downstairs Neighbor Affect My Garden?March 29th, 2010 by Staff Writer
If your downstairs neighbor has a habit of blowing cigarette smoke outside right below your balcony, you may be worried about your outdoor garden or any other plants you keep outside. Read on for more information on whether or not secondhand smoke can affect your garden.
Direct Contact Outdoors
A downstairs neighbor smoking directly below your outdoor garden consistently will definitely affect your outdoor garden’s health. Thousands of chemicals are released by the burning of tobacco and the exhaling of cigarette smoke and this smoke will rise along with the chemicals, coming into contact with any plant life you keep on your balcony along the way. The chemicals resulting from smoking can affect plants by diminishing their carbon dioxide intake and clogging up the pores on the leaves and stem that exhale oxygen. Chemicals that accumulate on the leaves and stem can also block sunlight and impede photosynthesis.
Chemicals from cigarette smoke can also build up in the soil of plant life, disturbing microorganisms and weakening roots. The plants can then not properly absorb nutrients from the soil. Overall, cigarette smoke can leave a plant malnourished, lacking light and lacking carbon dioxide.
Indirect Contact Indoors
Your indoor garden can even by affected by your downstairs neighbor smoking in his or her own apartment. While those who are not highly sensitive to smoke may not notice it, smoke can travel through flooring and walls and penetrate into neighboring apartments, particularly if the apartment complex is older and not designed to block smoke. People with asthma and smoke allergies often notice when a neighbor has been smoking.
Even if you can’t smell the smoke, your plants may begin to suffer from the affects of cigarette smoke over the long term. While damage will take longer to accumulate than when the plants and smokers are both outside, over time, your garden may die due to the smoke.
Signs Your Garden Is Affected by Cigarette Smoke
Plant life that is affected by cigarette smoke will wither and die even despite proper watering and access to sunlight. If your plant’s leaves are starting to shrivel up and fall off or you notice a grey to black burnt-like mark on your plant, this could be the long-term affects of absorbing cigarette smoke. The plants may also appear pale green, yellowish or brown in color as they start becoming deprived of carbon dioxide.
What You Can Do
If smoking is allowed in the apartment complex, there’s nothing much you can do to stop your downstairs neighbor from damaging your plants, other than to try and move the plants to an area near a window and keep the window open whenever you can. You can also lightly spray the plants with a spritzer and, if the leaves are strong enough, wipe them down with a cloth about once a week to try and keep the accumulation of chemicals from blocking pores on the plant’s leaves and stem.
While you may not smoke, even cigarette smoke from your downstairs neighbor can damage your plant life. Smoke that travels through walls can also affect your own health, so if it’s possible, you may want to consider moving to a smoke-free building.