Smoking and tomato viruses

Tomato    CT

I'm a smoker and a good friend and fellow gardener informed me that I had to be careful around my tomatoes as I could pass diseases from the tobacco to them. I thought he was yanking my chain but a google search revealed the truth. What do I do to avoid passing viruses to the plants? Can it be transmitted in the smoke or just by my hands after handling cigarettes? Should I worry about more than just my tomatoes?

Posted by: Rod Morrison (2 points) Rod Morrison
Posted: July 2, 2013

deactivated commented,
I'm sure you were expecting this comment, and perhaps everyone else is too polite, so let me be that guy: stop smoking and all tobacco related problems will be resolved, plant or human...
over 10 years ago.


Tobacco mosaic virus is quite stable (not easily killed) and it is certainly possible to transmit the virus from your fingers after handling cigarettes. The symptoms are probably most often seen on tomatoes and peppers, but the virus has a wide host range, infecting more than 120 plant species. Practical solutions: (1) wash you hands thoroughly with soap and water before gardening. This is probably the simplest approach., (2) don't smoke in the garden, (3) skim milk supposedly inactivates the virus and some greenhouse workers regularly dip their hands in milk (seems messy), (4) wear disposable latex or nitrile gloves for handling plants and picking fruit.

Posted by: Charlie B. (5 points) Charlie B.
Posted: July 3, 2013

Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) can be transmitted by smokers. The pathogen is still alive and kicking in cigars and cigarettes. Go to this publication http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/en... for more information. Tomatoes and peppers are definitely host plants although there are some others. You need to wash your hands thoroughly before handling your plants and afterwards as a bare minimum. The article above states that control of the virus is literally and figuratively in the hands of the grower.

Posted by: Susan League, UF/IFAS Sumter Program Assistant (1 point) Susan League, UF/IFAS Sumter Program Assistant
Posted: July 2, 2013

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