I know this isn't technically cooking but, I haven't been able to find this. Can cigarette smoke affect potted herbs? I have my herbs outside my apartment, which unfortunately is where my neighbors congregate to smoke.
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You gotta be kidding me.
Apparently the answer is yes it can, I googled the question and found many articles on the subject. http://www.gardenguides.com/75654-cigarette-smoke-affect-growth-plants.html
I can't speak for potted herbs, but there is a well-known disease called tomato mosaic virus that affects tomatoes, and I believe peppers too, which is transmitted through smoking near the plant or touching it after smoking without washing your hands.
Oddly enough that was my 8th grade science project. Not herbs specifically, but plants in an aquarium. If I remember correctly (this was several years ago), the plants exposed to smoke (in this case it was a pipe) suffered from lack of oxygen and died. However, in your case, this is outside, so I wouldn't be concerned about it. If your herbs are in a communal space you have to work within the confines of your living situation. I would hardly see it worth causing ruckus with your neighbors.
I agree - just wash well before use!
And now I keep thinking about how this dilemma would play out in states where pot is now legal!