How Does Cigarette Smoke Affect the Interior of Cars?


Your car’s interior collects third-hand smoke if you smoke cigarettes while driving or allow your passengers to do so. Third-hand smoke is the remaining residual materials from tobacco smoke, even when no one is actively smoking. A car interior regularly exposed to cigarette smoke suffers several negative effects. The interior sustains damage that eventually affects the car’s resale value. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may lose hundreds of dollars.


  • The color of your car’s interior gets dull or stained over time if you regularly smoke in the vehicle. Many of the components of tobacco smoke linger and stain fabric, leather, plastic and other materials commonly found in car interiors. This happens even if you clean the car interior regularly, just as household walls and furniture suffer from smoking damage. This makes your car less attractive and more difficult to sell or trade in for top dollar.


  • Cigarette smoke is notorious for causing odors on clothing, in smokers’ hair and in places where people regularly smoke. Your car interior quickly picks up the odor, even if you leave your windows open while smoking. Tobacco smoke leaves deposits that cause an unpleasant stale-smoke smell difficult to eliminate, even if you use deodorizers. Many products just mask the smell temporarily, and it quickly returns when your car’s interior is closed up for a while.


  • Careless smoking often results in burns in your car’s interior. Your seats or carpeting can easily get burned if you accidentally drop a cigarette or hot ashes or if a lit butt flies back into the car when you try to flick it out of the window. These burns usually happen in noticeable spots, which make them especially bad when you try to sell your vehicle. Car dealers will reduce their offers because they must repair the damage, and it is nearly impossible to do so without leaving evidence of the repair. Private buyers will likely find the burns ugly and distasteful, giving them a bad overall impression of the car and hurting your negotiation power.


  • A damaged or unpleasant car interior affects the vehicle’s overall resale value, even if it is in good condition mechanically. Dealers offer less for cars with interiors that smell strongly of cigarette smoke because they must incur costs for deep cleaning. A stained or discolored interior also pulls down your car’s value because it is less attractive to potential buyers, and burns from careless smoking lower the amount even further.

Bottom Line:  Smoking is not only bad for your health… it is also really bad to smoke inside of such a high dollar investment ie.. your car.