Why don’t new cars have ashtrays?

I answer a lot of questions on Quora. Many of those questions are about automotive things that may be of interest to CarNewsCafe readers. Like this one.

Why don’t new cars have ashtrays?

My Answer: Simply put, the demand is lower. The most recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control show that only about 12 percent of adults in America are full-time smokers. Automakers realized that the space could be used for extra storage, bigger drink holders (now what buyers are demanding) and so forth. So they did.

What most people don’t know is that an ashtray insert and cigarette lighter for the 12-volt plug is available as an option on nearly every car being sold by most major manufacturers. You just have to ask. And pay a little more.

What always cracks me up, as a journalist, is how often people assume things instead of just simply Googling for a credible answer. The answers here are full of assumptions that are based purely on the person’s expectation of reality (“the big evil corp is screwing us”) instead of the actual.

Another fun fact: many European imports, especially German luxury makes, will have ashtrays and lighters built-in as standard. I see this a lot, especially with BMW and German large sedan imports.

Aaron Turpen
An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.