A Labour plan to ban smoking in cars carrying children is due to be put to a vote in the House of Lords.
But smoking at the wheel can also lead to serious financial implications on top of any health issues according to experts at British Car Auctions (BCA).
Tim Naylor of BCA said: “The British Medical Association has previously released research showing the levels of toxins in a car can be up to 11 times higher than in a smoky bar.
“But if drivers aren’t motivated by the health of their passengers, perhaps they will be by the diminishing health of their finances. Lighting up inside a car seriously devalues the vehicle for resale.
“Presentation is one of the top factors influencing the price of used cars. So if a car is more like an ashtray on wheels, chances are buyers will move on to find one that looks and smells fresh as a daisy.”
Professional valeting can alleviate most of the effects of smoking, but is expensive and time consuming and might mean replacing some interior trim, such as nicotine-stained headlinings and repairing any cigarette burns in the cabin.
In the worst cases, this can represent an investment of several hundred pounds.
Mr Naylor concluded: “Motorists should avoid having a cigarette in their car, especially if they intend to sell it in the near future. This will avoid the lingering smell of cigarettes in the interior, as well as eliminate the risk of scorch marks on the upholstery or dash. All of these things will put buyers off, even if they smoke themselves.”