Please leave your smokes at the counter, folks. You could be fined $250 for lighting up.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc. which operates, the Dollar and Thrifty rental car fleets, has implemented a strict no smoking policy in all of its vehicles.

Smoking is now forbidden in any Dollar or Thrifty rental cars. Both rental fleets are now 100% smoke-free as a result of Dollar Thrifty’s new policy prohibiting smoking by renters at all U.S. corporate stores and participating franchise locations.

“We’re extremely pleased to now offer a 100% smoke-free fleet,” said Scott Thompson, Dollar Thrifty President and CEO. “We are passionate about providing our value-oriented customers with a rental experience that is consistent with our high standards, and we think that fresh, clean and smoke-free car interiors are essential to achieving our objectives.”

Renters who do not comply with the new policy and return vehicles after smoking may face a charge of up to $250.

Thompson said the charge is necessary to cover the special cleaning required to remove all traces of tobacco residue and smoky odor from a vehicle’s interior.  The charge is similar to what many hotel chains now levy when a visitor is found to have lit up in a non-smoking room.

Rental cars that have been smoked in will be immediately grounded upon inspection and removed for a thorough detailing before being returned for customer use.

All rental cars in Dollar and Thrifty fleets display a “No Smoking” sticker notifying renters of the potential charge for noncompliance.

“We think it is important to follow suit with the rest of the U.S. travel industry’s non-smoking approach so that travelers always have a smoke-free means of transportation. We’re confident this new policy will not only be widely-accepted by customers, but greatly appreciated as well,” Thompson said.

It remains to be seen whether the policy will be copied by other rent-a-car firms, though considering the growing pressure to limit the use of tobacco it may well be the start of a trend.

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