Should It Have To Be Disclosed If A Used Car Was Smoked In?

You get into the seats, place your hands on the wheel and sniff. That’s not new car smell you’re getting, but the faint notes of incinerated tobacco leaves. Perhaps they’re peaking out from a cloying cloud of freshener, like a bra strap from a tank top. Dangit. You thought you found a good contender and wasted all this time to come out and check the car out, and now it turns out someone used to smoke in it. Reader Ethan wonders if this isn’t something that dealers should have to disclose, or at least something that should show up on CarFax.

Ethan writes:

I am shopping for a certified pre-owned car and have sat in many cars. I always sniff around to identify whether or not the car has had an owner who smokes. I do this because I of course don’t like the smell but it is also near impossible to get rid of the smell. Some cars are masked better than others and it makes me wonder, should the CarFax or the dealer at least give some idea if the car had a previous owner who smoked inside?

I want to know what your readers think about this and if I am just an overpretentious consumer for thinking that I deserve to know if a car was smoked in.

- Ethan

Of course the other thing you can do is grill the dealer or seller in advance as to whether the car had been smoked in. They might still dissemble but at least you pressed them and some of them might even tell you. You could even be sneaky about and say, after determining that you might want this car, “I’m a heavy smoker and I just love the smell of smoke, can you tell me if this car was smoked in? Because, if so, I’m ready to buy today!” See what happens!