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How smoking in a car can lose you money

car cigarette lighter

With World No Tobacco Day just around the corner (May 31), it’s a perfect time to remind motorists that there’s another good reason to quit smoking – the habit can also dent vehicle values.

“If you’re a smoker, the first thing a dealer will do is knock back the price of your part exchange,” says Fernando Garcia, consumer director at vehicle data and valuation specialist HPI.

“That’s because a car for part-ex has to be made fit for resale – a process which is considerably more difficult and expensive when a smoker previously drove that car.”

The two main issues are physical damage to the interior and smell – something many smokers either don’t notice or think is solved by using an air freshener.

“Even if there is no obvious damage, the smell of smoke is a major problem for motor dealers,” adds Fernando.

“Smoke becomes ingrained in the fabric of the car and climate control, requiring a professional valet and a special ‘bomb’ to clean the air conditioning. It can cost anything up to £150 and is still no guarantee that the vehicle will smell sufficiently fresh. In severe cases, the internal fabric and head cloth may have to be stripped out too – a process which can cost hundreds of pounds.”

Add on the cost of repairing any marks, stains and cigarette burns to dash and upholstery and a car driven by a heavy smoker could easily lose up to £2,000 at trade-in.

“Some dealers tell us they won’t even buy vehicles from smokers, because of the time and expense of getting the car properly clean and free of lingering smells.

“Everyone knows that smoking is bad for our health, but few people realise that it can also have a surprisingly nasty impact on the value of your car.”

The World Health Organisation’s World No Tobacco Day is an annual campaign to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure. The focus of the 2019 campaign is ‘tobacco and lung health.’

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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