Well, this should hopefully come as a shock to no one, but smoking is harmful to your health. Now that we have that out of the way, it should also be quite apparent that being around smoke and smokers is not quite healthy either.

Consumer Reports posted a study conducted by British researchers that sought to determine the health effects of the presence of cigarette smoke in a car. The study was apparently the largest of its kind, and comprised over 100 car trips, by 17 drivers. Of that number, 14 drivers were smokers, introducing the tobacco smoke in 66 of the trips; 34 trips were without smoke.

The amount of interior air pollution was recorded in micrograms per cubic meter, of which the World Health Organization says 25 is a safe level. While smoke-free cars averaged roughly 7.4 micrograms per cubic meter, the smoking cars averaged 85. The study found peak pollution averaged at about 385 micrograms per cubic meter, and one scientist even found readings as high as 880. Scientists found that open windows and air conditioning did not protect passengers from encountering pollution greater than WHO's safety guidelines.

According to one of the study's authors, children are more likely to be affected by this air pollution, as they have faster breathing rates, lack a fully developed immune system, and do not have the freedom of movement to remove themselves from the source.

Consumer Reports points out that Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine and Maryland, as well as some countries have either banned, or plan to ban smoking in private vehicles.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 51 Comments
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      Captain Obvious seems to be conducting a lot of studies nowadays.
      Gary Griffen
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anti smokers are getting out of hand. I don't smoke with children in the car, plain and simple. The people here claiming they can smell the smoke of a person two cars ahead of them should just keep their windows rolled up. They're getting a lot more pollution from all the other car exhaust on the road than they could ever get from that one smoker. It's like when I worked in the shops years ago and the coolant we used on the cutting machines would be bellowing smoke everywhere, and someone would complain about the one smoker (back when you could) that bothered them. People like that are either ex-smokers trying not to give in or absolute idiots that should keep their mouths shut should they sound more ignorant than they already sound. America used to be a free nation. Now whe create 100 laws a day to take it all away. Pretty soon you won't be able to drink coffee, eat pork, drink a soda, or wear cologne in public becasue it will offend someone for some stupid reason reason. My car, MY home. I'll do as I please no matter what law you make. Take back America from the special interest groups. Wait till they decide that you shouldn't drink coffee and they tax that at 600% to get you to stop.
        IBx27
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gary Griffen
        Maybe we like fresh air, which is why we drive with the windows down. I don't want to breathe your addiction, and I'm sick of you throwing your trash out the window at my car.
        Sir Duke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gary Griffen
        Dude, all these special interest groups pisses me off (even the ones whose causes I agree with). However, smoking is no more personal than farting. I am in favor of letting those who want to smoke do their thing, but fine them for contaminating air when they exhale. America is still a free nation, you are allowed to ruin your life as you see fit. You are not however, allowed to ruin the life of others.
        tump
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gary Griffen
        Your car is worth much less because you smoke in it. That's okay, because it's your loss.
        PiCASSO
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gary Griffen
        Tell me Gary... what do you do with your finished cigarettes while you are smoking in your car?
        EXP Jawa
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Gary Griffen
        There's absolutely no reason that I should have my window position dictated by your filthy habit. And as I noted elsewhere in this discussion, there's more to it than simply being able to smell you smoking in your car. Maybe *you* should keep your window rolled up if you choose to poison yourself. I mean, if you're going to do it, do it all the way. Along the same lines, maybe you don't smoke when kids are in the car, but do you really think that when you do smoke in the car, the residue and toxins magically disappear before the kids get in? This isn't about being offended - its about being exposed to a lethal substance. Kinda like how we've banned asbestos and DDT. Not wanting to subject one's self to that isn't being an idiot, absolute or otherwise. In fact, your entire rant reads like something written by an ignorant smoker badly trying to justify themselves. Who's the idiot?
      Dave R
      • 2 Years Ago
      Highly annoying smoker's habits: 1. Way more often than not - they toss their butts out their car window or leave them in the gutter. 2. They're obviously not all that enthused about breathing the smoke since they tend to hang their cigs out the window when driving and smoke outside their houses. 3. Because of #2, I also get treated to cigarette smoke when following a smoker or living next to a smoker. Smokers always rail on about "freedom" - but always fail to realize that they are the ones who are impeding on other's rights. Smoke all you want - but toss your butts in the trash, keep your windows up so you don't force others to breathe your carcinogens.
        Ducman69
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Dave R
        Uhhh, not a smoker, but give me a break. It is completely assinine to be concerned about being downwind from a smoker when outside sitting behind them at a red light. Their vehicle's exhaust is outputting a vastly greater quantity of toxic gasses and carcinogens than second hand smoke that would be tremendously diluted outdoors.
      Bill
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was a smoker for 25+ years, but recently quit. Because I have two children I never smoked in my house and I quit smoking in my cars several years ago, though never smoked in the car with the children in it. If there is one thing I would change in my life it would be smoking. It is the most useless and harmful thing anyone can do and I honestly wish it was outlawed or, at the very least, the US government should stop subsidizing the industry and require that the tobacco industry stop adding ingredients that make the user more addicted to it (which they do). My father quit smoking 40+ years ago, but told me that even after all that time, when he was really stressed at work (he is now retired), he always thought about smoking….what kind of stuff are they putting in them to affect the human body and mind to such a degree.
      dave and mary
      • 2 Years Ago
      Whoever wins in November, can we get him to stop paying farmers to grow tobacco while we support cancer research/treatment at the SAME TIME!
      Matt Frawley
      • 2 Years Ago
      it is stupid law for ban car with cigarette. it is not DWI . I blame Liberal politician vote and pass to new law.
        Kuro Houou
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matt Frawley
        It's not stupid, I've seen to many cars where parents are smoking with kids in the back. These parents should not have kids if they are harming them like that. It should be child abuse if your smoking around kids!
          Chris
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Kuro Houou
          Oh yeah but feeding them fatty foods, and sugary soft drinks is so good for their health... Did you know the health effects of obesity can be just as bad as smoking? Knee jerk reactionists, like yourself, are not doing anyone any favors.
        RJC
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Matt Frawley
        Go away.
      2000NSX
      • 2 Years Ago
      Smoking is so last century.
      Kurt
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is against the constitution and freedom to ban people from smoking in their own cars. Whoever even thought about proposing that law should not be in office in America. The best way to prevent people from causing harm to themselves by smoking is education, science, and trying to attach social stigmas to smoking.
        Rob J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Kurt
        Unless they have kids, in which case they are directly and willingly doing harm to their children and if they are not going to stop - the state has every right to take their kids away.
      Wolf
      • 2 Years Ago
      As someone who values freedom, I feel that any cigarette ban in a private location is appalling. Let me be clear, I don't care for the practice at all. At least 3 - 5 times a month some asshat smoker flicks his flaming butt out towards my car. The sides of our freeways are often burned by people who flick out their butts. I just wish that there was an easier way to fine those who can't keep their butts to themselves so that the few people who would like to smoke in their vehicles can continue to do so. I feel that such a ban is just one more loss of freedom and any of that should be avoided.
        Rick C.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Wolf
        Should we extend the protection of 'freedom' to those who would do harm, physical or economic, through their actions to others?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Wolf
        [blocked]
        Bill
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Wolf
        Wolf...though I agree with you in principle, history has shown, especially in the US, that many people can not handle the responsibility of freedom and will do things that hurt themselves and others just because they can. Sometimes you have to look at a situation with a big helping of common sense: cigarettes do absolutely no good (they hurt the user, the non-user and the environment) therefore they should not be legal. Seems pretty straight forward and simple to me. I also think we have a lot bigger issues to spend time on then the ones that the answer should be pretty obvious.
      Jay
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is a law really necessary? Smokers that are considerate of their non-smoking passengers won't smoke with passengers in the car. ******** will - regardless of some bogus law.
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      No duh, but research has shown that unless you inhale very deeply and rapidly, the heated plant material in and of itself is not that much of a concern and virtually zero concern second hand. Its the specific chemical composition of tobacco and nicotine that are known carcinogens. By contrast, filtered marijuana hasn't ever been attributed to any cancer or death case even once to date, and there are a plethora of potheads. End the prohibition, and ban tobacco if you have to!!! :)
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      And how much did they pay to have this 'study' conducted?
        icemilkcoffee
        • 2 Years Ago
        @IBx27
        Probably a lot less than what the tobacco companies paid trying to prove the opposite.
    • Load More Comments