Letter: Car rental firms join forces against smoking
Submitted by Emily Zale, Tobacco Action Partnership of Livingston County
This week, USA Today announced that the rental car companies Avis and Budget will be going entirely smoke free as of Oct. 1. While the companies previously designated some cars in their fleets as non-smoking, they have recently chosen to ban smoking in all company cars. To deter renters from smoking, lighting up in a car rented from Budget or Avis will carry up to a $250 cleaning fee.
I applaud their decision to protect the health of their renters.
Scientists have long known about the dangers of secondhand smoke, the smoke that fills the air from a lit cigarette. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause respiratory disease and cancer, just as smoking itself does. Indeed, the Surgeon General concluded in 2006 that there is no “safe” level of exposure, and secon10dhand smoke is responsible for 50,000 deaths each year.
But the dangers from cigarette smoke do not disappear when the smoke dissipates; the residue left behind from cigarette smoke contains heavy medals and carcinogens which are also dangerous. Smoking in enclosed spaces, like cars, can result in the accumulation of thirdhand smoke, posing a health risk to riders long after the cigarette has been extinguished.
By banning smoking in their rental vehicles, Avis and Budget are eliminating their renters’ exposure to thirdhand smoke. Moreover, by prohibiting smokers from lighting up in their cars, the companies are protecting non-smoking passengers, including children, from the dangerous effects of secondhand smoke. Thank you, Avis and Budget, for your conscientious decision to protect your renters.