South African Car Rental Company Bans Smoking in Vehicles

First Car Rental, a Johannesburg, South Africa-based car rental company, implemented last week a no-smoking policy for all of its rental vehicles.

"First Car Rental receives more customer requests for smoke-free vehicles than any other special request. This new policy is designed to ensure that we are enhancing the comfort of our customers, which is a priority at First Car Rental," said Says Melissa Storey, executive head of strategy, development and marketing for First Car Rental.

The company said it has removed all lighters from its vehicles to help renters comply with the new policy, which went into effect Oct. 11.

The company also said it will soon launch a new inspection procedure and will consider a cleaning fee penalty if vehicles are returned with cigarette odor or residue. "Secondhand smoke toxins and residue can stay in the fabric of a vehicle anywhere from a few hours to a few months after exposure," the company said.

First Car Rental has more than 6,000 vehicles in use in South Africa and has over 43 car rental branches nationwide, including branches at all major South African airports, business and tourist destinations.

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