Are Cigarette Ashes Good For Plants or Harmful?
Cigarette smoking is a nasty habit that through lung cancer, emphysema kills over 7,000,000 each year. Additionally, second-hand cigarette smoke through its carbon dioxide and other dangerous by-products has been estimated to kill 41,000 yearly. No matter how one feels about smoking, I think most would agree that it would be a godsend to have cigarette waste be put to some good use?
And since this is a
- Can tobacco ash be used to benefit your
- Are ashes a grower’s secret source of vital nutrients that should be added to your compost pile or straight into the soil?
In other words, can you make something positive out of nasty cigarette litter?
Find out more, in this article.
For simplicity’s sake, I am only mentioning cigarette and not cigar ash. However, the info here is also relevant to cheap, mass-produced, cigars.
Why Would Cigarette Ash Be Even Be Considered To Help Plant Growth?
To many, it would seem silly at first that cigarettes ashes would even be considered to be a nutrient source, pesticide, or other growing aid. However, after doing a bit of research, I found out that using tobacco ashes for your plants is not that farfetched.
First of all, tobacco has been used historically as a fertilizer. Another reason is that other types of ash, like wood ash, are considered to be an excellent addition to a mulch pile, wood ash is an excellent soil additive. Additionally, the essential plant nutrient potassium in the form of potassium nitrate is added to most cigarettes.
So, based upon other ashes working well for mulch and potassium nitrate added to tobacco, could ashes be put to good use in your garden? Keep on reading to find out this and other questions.
What Is The Modern Day Cigarette Made of?
This ain’t your great grand daddy’s smoke!
Modern-day cigarette tobacco has hundreds of additives. For example, in 1994 the tobacco industry stated that 599 additives are routinely added to cigarettes. Some of these additives are included for taste (I.E., Menthol) and some are added to help a smoker get more results with nicotine. (I.E., Ammonia)
So, even if tobacco ash is organic, your Marlboros likely aren’t and the cellulose acetate cigarette butts are definitely not natural. This means that you can’t predict what chemical or other foreign substance is going to be found in the modern-day tobacco product.
Is Cigarette Ash Harmful To
To put it bluntly, when it comes to plants, no. Any potential aid that cigarette ashes may provide is countered by the potential drawbacks of using ashes from cigarettes.
As I stated earlier, cigarettes do not just contain tobacco as hundreds of other ingredients are added to your average cigarette. Some of these ingredients, like Ammonia, can be quite damaging to the soil.
Tobacco smoke is known to also contain heavy metals, (I.E., lead, nickel, chromium) that are not beneficial for garden soil.
Tobacco ash does have uses other than gardening. If you are interested check out the appendix at the end of this post.
What About The Potassium Nitrate Additive In Smokes?
Potassium nitrate additive, in cigarettes, helps smokers get a more consistent burn when they are smoking. Potassium is an essential plant nutrient. Therefore, because of the potassium nitrate, you might wonder if tobacco ashes might be a potential potassium nutrient source. Cigarette tobacco though only contains around one percent potassium nitrate. So, you would need a lot of ash to get the needed potassium, and there are far better potassium sources.
Any benefits of using cigarette litter in your garden are outweighed by the dangers of a modern-day, additive-filled, cig. If you want you can use your tobacco ashes for other purposes. But, keep them out of your garden.
Wood ash is an excellent source of soil nutrients as it is known for having high alkaline and small amounts of potassium and calcium. It is especially beneficial if you want to lower the acidic levels in your soil, and as an added bonus, fireplace ashes make a better environment for composting worms.
Beware -Do not use ash wood from pre-manufactured logs, or other wood (I.E., Old Furniture) that may have been treated with lead paint or other types of chemicals.
Tobacco Mosaic Virus
When tobacco is left on a smoked cigarette butt, your plants are in danger of getting Tobacco Mosaic Virus or TMV. Tobacco Mosaic was discovered in the 1800s on a tobacco plant. However, even though it is named after tobacco; TMV can occur in over 350 plant types, including cannabis.
A plant affected with TMV can have the following problems:
● Stunted Growth
● A mosaic-like pattern of yellow and dark green on the leaves or yellow and green
● Yellow spots on leaves
● Yellow veins.
What is worse though is that there are no natural chemical remedies for TMV. So, once a plant is infected all you can do is go into damage control and remove the plant ASAP.
How Can You Put Cigarette Waste To Good Use?
Cigarette ashes may not be recommended for your houseplant, garden, or
Tobacco ashes can also be used for insect pest control. You just mix the ashes with water, let it rest overnight, and spray it on your plants. You should not use this for plants in the Solanaceae plant family.
The above ideas were gathered from a Reader’s Digest article. Click Here for the full article.
Use Banana Peels For Your Potassium Instead
Banana peels are a superb source of natural potassium as they contain over 42 percent of this nutrient. (This is the highest natural source of natural potassium) So, if you want to try alternative natural potassium for your babies, try banana peels.
Your Nasty Habit Could Actually Be A Life Saver?
Arsenic water contamination can be quite deadly. However, with modern-day water treatment, it can be removed from the public’s drinking water. The equipment though to do this is expensive and not affordable for many third-world countries.
Scientists though have developed a method of removing arsenic from water by using tobacco ashes. Don’t ask me how this is done. But, if you are curious, check out this article.