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Is Cigarette Ash Good For Plants?

Are Cigarette Ashes Good For Plants?

Cigarette smoking is a nasty habit that kills over 7,000,000 each year, and second-hand smoke through its carbon dioxide and other dangerous by-products has been estimated to kill 41,000 yearly. Wouldn’t it be a godsend to have cigarette waste be put to some good use?

For example, can tobacco ash be used to benefit your cannabis plants? 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 sake, I am only mentioning cigarette and not cigar ash. However, the info here is also likely 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. However, after doing a bit of research, using tobacco ashes for your plants is not that farfetched.

One reason is that other types of ash, like wood ash, are considered to be an excellent addition to both a mulch pile and also work well when added straight into the soil. Additionally, cigarettes do add potassium nitrate to their tobacco. Potassium is an essential nutrient that is needed for all plants. 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 ancestor’s smoke! Modern-day cigarette tobacco has hundreds of additives.

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 cigarette filters are definitely not natural. This means that you can’t predict what exactly is going to be in cigarette waste.

Is Cigarette Ash Harmful To Cannabis?

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.

Tobacco ash does have uses other than gardening. If you are interested check out the appendix at the end of this post.

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 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.

Once a plant is infected it can also be easily transmitted from one plant to another. So, you’ll be in trouble if you do not find the problem and try to fix it asap.

What is worse though is that there are no natural or chemical remedies for TMV. So, once a plant is infected all you can do is go into damage control and remove the plant ASAP.

What About The Potassium Nitrate Additive?

To help smokers get a consistent burn potassium nitrate is added to numerous mass-produced tobacco products.

Potassium, nitrogen, and potash are the three base nutrients that are essential for all plants and especially weed.

You may be thinking that the potassium nitrate that is added contradicts my above statement that tobacco smoke is not helpful for your garden. 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.

Use Banana Peels For Your Compost Pile Instead

banana peel for mulch
Banana Peels-Excellent Source of Natural Potassium

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 need to add potassium to your babies, try banana peels or chemical-based potassium fertilizer.

Final Thoughts

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

Wood ash is an excellent source of soil nutrients as it 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.

How Can You Put Cigarette Waste To Good Use?

Cigarette ashes may not be recommended for your houseplant, garden, or cannabis. They do however have quite a few benefits. For example, they can be used to eliminate the unsightly rings on wood furniture that happen when a coaster is not used. Further, they can be used for removing concrete stains and also fight mildew.

The above ideas were gathered from a Reader’s Digest article. Click Here for the full article.

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.

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.