As one smoker said at the Detroit Auto Show, "Do you know what smokers have to go through today just to smoke? It's like they're trying to erase us from history." More and more carmakers are making it harder to smoke in one's own vehicle by replacing lighters and ashtrays with storage spaces and power outlets.

The trend is driven by "pressure from anti-smoking groups, fewer smokers and the need for the extra storage space." According to the United Health Foundation, about 20.8% of the population smokes, which means about 60 million people. According to Apple, 100 million people have bought iPods. Add that to the 4 million iPhones sold, and the untold millions of Blackberrys, Palms, Razrs and what have you, and it's easy to see that people who need juice on-the-go well outnumber people who need a puff on-the-go.

Not that we're advocating the rarity of ashtrays. While a company like Chrysler hasn't put ashtrays and the like in its cars since 1996, automakers more likely to have humidor-owning customers, like Rolls-Royce, still include places to properly dispose of cigar ash -- and they're beautiful to behold as well. If anything, we do think it a bit unfair that some carmakers make you pay for your smoking gear, from $15 to $100 for a "smokers group" option. That just ain't right, since, like Vegas, what happens in your car, stays in your car...

[Source: Detroit News]