Answer: I suppose smoking could add to the buildup of grime on houseplants but I honestly doubt that would make such a dramatic difference. It sounds as though the humidity may be very low. This can be affected by the type of heating system you have as well as by the way air moves through the rooms. Warmer temperatures will also generally reduce the humidity. Other possible causes for the problems you describe are drafts of any kind, spider mites or other pests, and generally unfavorable conditions such as lack of light. Finally, moving to a new location is a big stress on plants, so they may be going through an adaptation period. With a little detective work you should be able to work out the cause(s) for the problems.
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