Operations

How To Snuff Out Smoke Smells Of All Kinds

Lexi Tucker
Posted on March 28, 2018

Whether or not your company has a no smoking policy, there will always be celebrities and other VIPs who insist on doing so. Even if they light up for only a second before they are told “no,” that smell will certainly linger. With various states legalizing marijuana (and more likely to come), the prevalence of the plant will require you to be smart about how you clean your vehicle. Here are some tips to follow for minimum down time.

Odor Be Gone

A Florida operator who asks to remain anonymous has been the longtime chauffeur for one of the most prevalent celebrity advocates of marijuana: Willie Nelson. The company also has driven comedian Dave Chappell, who is known to partake. “We charge a $500 fee to clean any vomit, bodily fluids, or smoke. We bill it separately; if there are chargebacks, this way you have the evidence to fight it,” the operator says. “Most clients won’t bat an eye at the price.”

The operator shares these steps to eliminating tough smoke odors:

  1. Open the vehicle and Lysol the interior, then close the doors
  2. After one hour, open the doors and let it air out for two hours
  3. Put on two ozone generator machines, use Ozium new car scent air sanitizer spray, and leave the door closed for another five hours

“It’s actually 1,000 times harder to get cigar smoke out of a vehicle because it lingers longer,” the source says. “It normally takes a vehicle out of the fleet for at least 24 hours. It takes roughly six to eight hours to get the smell of weed out, and cigarette smoke is actually the easiest out of the three,” they explain.

“The worst thing to use is a floral or berry air freshener; clients will catch on to the fact you’re trying to cover up an odor.”

A (Facebook) Group Perspective

When the question was brought up on a Limo Growth Facebook group discussion, this is what commenters had to say:

  • Jess Sandhu, co-owner and vice president, A&A Limousine & Bus Service, Kenmore, Wash. — uses an ozone generator and Clorox wipes to help kill bacteria. “We also turn the A/C on for a day, and then turn the heat on for half a day. It burns out all the smells.”
  • Jennifer Cuozzo, owner, A Touch of Class Limousines, Frederick, Md. — owns a detail shop, which makes cleaning a little easier. They steam clean in addition to running an ozone machine in the vehicle for 24 hours.
  • James Haiskey, affiliate manager, Towne & Country Worldwide, Denver, Colo. — recommends Auto Shocker ClO2 car interior odor eliminator by Biocide Systems in addition to an ozone generator.
  • Jason Smith, CEO and president, Lone Star Executive Limousine, The Woodlands, Texas — says a Dakota Odor Bomb will do the job every time.
  • Raphael Sousa, president, SF Limo Express, San Francisco, Calif. — warns operators to look at laws in their state regarding ozone generators, as they are illegal in California due to strict CARB laws.

True or False: Chauffeurs can get a “second-hand high” if they are driving a vehicle while passengers smoke weed.

Answer: It depends.

“People often ask about the possible psychoactive effect of exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke and whether a person who has inhaled secondhand marijuana smoke could fail a drug test. Researchers measured the amount of THC in the blood of people who do not smoke marijuana and had spent three hours in a well-ventilated space with people casually smoking marijuana; THC was present in the blood of the nonsmoking participants, but the amount was well below the level needed to fail a drug test. Another study varied the levels of ventilation and the potency of the marijuana and found some nonsmoking participants exposed for an hour to high-THC marijuana (11.3% THC concentration) in an unventilated room showed positive urine assays in the hours directly following exposure; a follow-up study showed nonsmoking people in a confined space with people smoking high-THC marijuana reported mild subjective effects of the drug — a ‘contact high’ — and displayed mild impairments on performance in motor tasks.”

Source: The National Institute on Drug Abuse

Facebook Survey Says…

Q: Do you strictly enforce a no smoking rule, regardless of who you’re driving? Or do you let it slide depending on the client and just charge a cleanup fee?

A: Out of 77 respondents, 92% said they strictly enforce a no smoking policy, 5% said they would let it slide and charge a cleanup fee, and 3% said “are you going to say no to Sylvester Stallone or Snoop Dogg?” Here are some sample explanations operators gave:

Damon Rodzen: We used to drive an elderly lady three times a week for about 10 years. She used to smoke half a cigarette sitting in the car with the window all the way down. She paid for the car multiple times over. Only person we’ve allowed to smoke.

Marlo Denning: I would never allow it. First time you light up, it’s a cleanup fee right away. You light up again, and the night is over. It’s gross and the smell never comes out. Unless you have a dedicated smoking vehicle, then you should not allow it. To each his own, I guess.

Moe Hosani: At the end of the day, money talks. If it’s a client you can’t afford to lose and pays for two of your vehicles every year, why not? I’ll just dedicate that car for smoking and go buy another one. Depends on the bottom line, but 99.999% of the time, nope.   

Don’t Get Stoned By The Law

Based on federal laws, smoking is prohibited on commercial motor vehicles (15+ pax)

Subpart B—Limitation of Smoking on Interstate Passenger Carrier Vehicles

  • 374.201 Prohibition against smoking on interstate passenger-carrying motor vehicles.

(a) All motor carriers of passengers subject to 49 U.S.C. subtitle IV, part B, shall prohibit smoking (including the carrying of lit cigars, cigarettes, and pipes) on vehicles transporting passengers in scheduled or special service in interstate commerce.

(b) Each carrier shall take such action as is necessary to ensure that smoking by passengers, drivers, and other employees is not permitted in violation of this section. This shall include making appropriate announcements to passengers, the posting of the international no-smoking symbol, and the posting of signs in all passenger vehicles in letters in sharp color contrast to the background, and of such size, shape, and color as to be readily legible. Such signs and symbols shall be kept and maintained in such a manner as to remain legible and shall indicate that smoking is prohibited by federal regulation.

(c) The provisions of paragraph (a) of this section shall not apply to charter operations as defined in §374.503 of this part.

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Related Topics: customer service, difficult clients, drugs, How To, Marijuana, smoking in the vehicle, vehicle maintenance

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 3 )
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  • Tony

     | about 8 months ago

    California PUC code 561 is clear. the driver SHALL NOT allow smoking in the vehicles, period. I don't care who it is. It is nearly impossible to get the odor out once someone smokes, and non smokers are very sensitive to the smell. Alienating the overwhelming majority of your clients to accommodate the few is just not worth it. You have to replace the cabin air filter, and possibly the headliner, as the newer vehicles have headliners made from materials that are damaged attempting to clean them.

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