Global car hire firm Avis Budget group has been recognised for making its entire US and Canadian rental fleet smoke-free.

Campaign group Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights honoured the firm’s efforts last week by presenting it with the Smoke-Free Business Award for pioneering smoke-free policies in the car hire industry.

Larry De Shon, Avis Budget Group’s executive vice president for operations said that his compant had enacted the smoke-free policy because fresh-smelling, smoke-free rental cars had become the most common request from customers. He said that the new policy ensures that renters throughout the US and Canada will receive a clean and fresh-scented vehicle every time they choose to rent.

The company had first enacted the smoke-free policy in 2009. The regulation made all of its North American vehicles non-smoking zones for both employees and customers. Additionally, this year will see all of the firm’s North American rental outlets become completely smoke-free as well.

Cynthia Hallett, executive director for Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, said that Avis Budget’s policy had proved to be a model for the industry as other car hire firms had since enacted similar measures. She added that because of this, millions of travellers are now able to ‘breathe easy’.