Smoking and Riding: A Step-by-Step Guide to Keeping Your Car Smoke Free


Smoking and riding is extremely unhealthy and can be dangerous. Here’s a step by step guide to keeping your car smoke free for the foreseeable future.

Every year in the US, tobacco is the largest preventable cause of death and disease.

Smoking kills an average of 7 million people per year. Of these, 890,000 are from exposure to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can remain in a place long after you’ve smoked, and that has potential health consequences that you want to avoid.

When you’re smoking and riding, you’re risking the health of anybody who enters your vehicle. Keeping your car smoke free, and removing any lingering smoke long after you’ve quit, is one way to prevent these negative health effects.

Keep reading to find out more about why you want to remove the smoke from your vehicle and how to go about doing that.

What is Second Hand Smoke?

Secondhand smoke is also known as environmental tobacco smoke. When someone is smoking, the smoke that they exhale is secondhand smoke. The smoke burning from the end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar is also considered secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke is known to contain over 7,000 chemicals. Of these, at least 250 are harmful to human health. In fact, 50 are known cancer-causing substances.

The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke isn’t just dangerous when someone is smoking. It can remain in a space long after a person has finished their cigarette. Importantly, there’s no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke is particularly bad for the health of young children. When a child’s lungs are still developing, exposure to the chemicals in secondhand smoke can cause illness such as ear infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Even if you don’t smoke around your children, they can ingest secondhand smoke left behind on surfaces.

Adults also face severe health consequences from secondhand smoke. Every year, secondhand smoke causes over 7,000 deaths from lung cancer. In the same year, over 33,000 die from heart disease as a result of secondhand smoke.

Eliminating these deadly toxins from a space is not as simple as opening a window. Even using ventilation or a fan can’t get rid of the secondhand smoke. If you have children in your home or vehicle, maintaining a smoke-free environment is the only way to reduce the risk associated with secondhand smoke.

Thirdhand Smoke

Beyond secondhand smoke, thirdhand smoke can also cause health issues. This type of harmful smoke is what tobacco smoke leaves behind on indoor surfaces. When someone touches these surfaces or breath in the off-gas, there exposed to toxins.

Thirdhand smoke is difficult to remove. It can be found in walls and upholstery as well as other hard-to-cleanse places.

Legality of Smoking and Riding

Smoking and riding typically aren’t against the law – specifically. Especially when the vehicle is used for private purposes, the law doesn’t state that you’re not allowed to smoke while you drive.

However, if smoking while driving leads to distractions that cause injury or damage to a person or property, it may result in significant consequences. For example, if you’re involved in an accident while smoking, you may be charged with careless or distracted driving.

How Smoking and Riding Affects Your Vehicle

How much your vehicle retains smoke depends heavily on your ventilation system. Some ventilation systems trap the smell of smoke and make it difficult to remove.

Cleaning your car means cleaning your upholstery. A car with cloth seats versus leather seats will absorb more smoke. The fibers in a cloth seat are more porous and smoke sticks to them more easily than leather.

Secondhand smoke can also build up in certain areas of the car more than others. This includes seatbelts, sun visors, the roof liner on the driver side of the vehicle, as well as around windows. It can also get caught in internal crevices that could be impossible to get out.

Your headliner, in particular, is a hotbed for toxins. Because gravity causes smoke to move upward, the headliner becomes contaminated more than most parts of the vehicle. Anytime it’s disturbed, smoke compounds are unsettled and dispersed throughout the vehicle.

You’ll know your headliner is contaminated with secondhand smoke when you notice brown and dark spots. You may need to replace your headliner because shampooing and scrubbing often aren’t enough to remove the smoke from the vehicle.

Tips for a Smoke Free Car

The best way to neutralize smoke in your vehicle is to not smoke in it. These tips can help you maintain a smoke-free vehicle:

• Don’t smoke in your car, especially if children are ever present in your car. Even one cigarette can leave behind secondhand and thirdhand smoke that’s dangerous to your health and the health f your children.
• Don’t allow any passenger to smoke in your vehicle.
• Time your cigarettes so you can smoke them outside your vehicle.
• Keep a device plugged into your car adapter so you don’t use it for lighting cigarettes.
• Keep spare change in your ashtray. This will help you avoid filling it with ash from your cigarettes.
• Keep your cigarettes out of reach when operating your vehicle.

If you’ve recently stopped smoking in your car, you may find it difficult to remove the smell of smoke. Even when you do rid of the smell, you may be leaving behind toxins that can cause damage to your health and the health of your family. You need to properly clean your vehicle to avoid that risk.

Tips for Removing Smoke From Your Car

An air freshener or odor absorbing beads usually aren’t enough to remove the smell of smoke from your car. They certainly won’t remove any of the built-up chemicals that are left behind after every cigarette you smoke. To remove smoke properly, you’ll have to deep clean your vehicle.

Change the Cabin Air Filter

When smoke gets caught in the cabin air filter, it circulates throughout the car unless it’s properly cleaned. Before using your air circulation systems, including heat and air conditioning, change your cabin air filter.


Some household items are great for cleaning your car. One way of neutralizing the toxins in a chemically imbalanced environment is to use white vinegar. This not only absorbs the stench of smoke but also removes residue.

To begin, fill your cup holders with cups of white vinegar. You can also fill a bowl with vinegar and leave it in a footwell. Leave these in the vehicle for a full day and ensure the windows are shut for full absorption. It can be used on seats, the dashboard, as well as little crevices that smoke lingers.

Wipe Surfaces

You can use a surface wiper to wipe down anywhere that smoke has accumulated. Ensure that the formula you’re using is meant to break down enzymes. This also creates a protective layer as you clean the other parts of your car and smoke is redispersed.

Steam Clean

Steam cleaning is a necessary step to removing smoke from a car. You can steam clean surfaces such as seats and floor carpets. This will remove nicotine and other smoke compounds from deep within the interior of the vehicle.


After steam cleaning, a shampoo can remove odors. You’ll need to shampoo at least twice to ensure everything has been cleaned properly. Keep in mind that you should be using an odor-removing shampoo.

The best way to shampoo is to start from the outside of your headliner and move towards the center. By using this technique you avoid spreading areas of thicker smoke residue.

A wet vacuum cleaner can help to start the drying process.

Microfiber Cloths

These types of cloth are able to absorb a significant amount of dirt. Use a flatweave on window areas and flatter surfaces because they’re less absorbent. For seats and headliners, you need super absorbing cloths.

Reasons to Quit Smoking

The average smoker takes ten puffs of a cigarette, 20 times per day. That’s about 200 hits of nicotine every day.

Smoking causes the number of nicotine receptors in your brain to increase. When the receptors don’t get the nicotine they’re expecting, they adjust to the lack of nicotine. This is why your brain gets addicted to nicotine and why cravings and withdrawals make it so difficult to quit.

Quitting smoking can cause physical and psychological effects. These include:

• Irritation
• Anxiety
• Inability to focus
• Headaches
• Flu-like symptoms
• Food cravings
• Cigarette cravings

Within 72 hours of no cigarette, the nicotine is out of your system. After 2-3 days of quitting, the symptoms of withdrawing from nicotine should subside. Within 1-3 months, they should be completely gone.

To successfully quit smoking, you have to be prepared for the long-term effects of your brain chemistry returning back to normals. Slowly reducing the amount of nicotine is one way to practice harm reduction and increase your chances of quitting successfully. Using a voopoo, you avoid secondhand smoke and aid your ability to quit smoking for good.

Other Car Tips

Smoking and riding is never a good idea. It compromises your health and the health of your passengers. This is because of secondhand and thirdhand smoke that sticks to surfaces and leaves behind dangerous toxins.

The best way to keep your vehicle clean is to not smoke in it. Otherwise, keeping your vehicle safe requires deep cleaning with vinegar, shampoo, and steam cleaning.

For more tips and advice on your vehicle, check out our blog.


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