We’re all aware by now of the dangers of second hand and even third hand smoke. As more nonsmokers and people with sensitivity to tobacco products insist on non-smoking environments, more and more restrictions are placed on where smokers can light up.
Come October 1st, Avis and Budget will become the first major rental-car companies to completely ban smoking throughout their entire North American fleets. Cars will undergo an inspection upon return and customers who ignore the ban and smoke in the vehicles will face a cleaning fee of up to $250.
John Barrows, spokesman of the Avis Budget Group, indicates that the number 1 request they get is for a smoke-free car, and one of the most common customer complaints is that a car smells of smoke. He also mentioned that cleaning a smoky car increases the cost of operation, because the vehicles have to be taken out of service longer. The new smoking ban is meant to address all three concerns.
Smoking bans or restrictions have spread across various modes of transportation in recent decades, beginning with the first ban on smoking during short domestic flights imposed by Congress in 1988, and expanded in 1990 to flights of up to six hours. That same year, smoking on interstate buses was also prohibited. Restrictions and bans on smoking came to Amtrak in 1994. Although other car rental companies have taken more limited steps to address concerns related to smoking in their vehicles, Avis and Budget are the first to impose a fleet-wide ban.
According to a study released last month by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, tobacco smoke residue is significantly more concentrated in cars than it is in bars, restaurants and other public places. Based on customer research, Budget and Avis expect to gain more business than they lose by imposing the ban, thus helping their bottom line in tough economic times.
Whether you’re a smoker or not, you’ll find a vehicle rental to meet your needs at considerable savings in the Discount Car Rentals section of our site. Choose from top rental firms including Avis, Budget and Enterprise.