Avis Budget Group, Inc. today announced that beginning next month Avis Rent A Car and Budget Rent A Car vehicles in the United States and Canada will be smoke-free under a new policy that prohibits smoking in its rental vehicles effective October 1. "Tobacco smoke leaves a residue on fabrics, fibers and surfaces of vehicles, which emits odors that many people find unpleasant," said Larry De Shon, executive vice president of operations for Avis Budget Group. "In fact, we receive 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 top priority at Avis and Budget." To ensure compliance with the new smoke-free policy, Avis and Budget have established new inspection processes and will assess customers a cleaning fee if the vehicle is returned with tobacco odor or residue. In addition, the Company has instituted a smoke-free policy for all employees and contractors who drive its vehicles. "When a vehicle must be cleaned of tobacco smoke odor and residue, the process takes considerably longer and requires the vehicle to be removed from the rental fleet until it is odor-free," said Mr. De Shon. "With this new policy, we encourage customers to refrain from smoking in or near the vehicle at all times."