One of my colleagues is a heavy smoker. We sometimes go together to customer appointments (approx. 1 hour's drive in one direction).

We don't have company cars. He offers me then a lift in his car. In the evening, my clothes stink terribly of smoke. So much so that my wife and kids think I've started smoking! Note that he doesn't smoke while driving and I'm traveling with him.

How can I politely (and perhaps humorously) say that I don't want to travel with him, that I'd rather use my car for such trips?

  • 4
    How can I politely (and perhaps humorously) say that I don't want to travel with him, that I'd rather use my car for such trips? - "I'd prefer to take my own car." seems like a perfectly acceptable way of doing this.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 16:00

3 Answers 3


As a smoker myself who has been in the exact same situation, tell him as directly as possible.

I had a buddy I rode with everywhere for a month (very occasional smoker). One day he just came to me and said "Hey man, I'm taking my car today, my house has no smokers and I have kids, I can't smell like tobacco at the end of the day". Every smoker knows just how much the tobacco stench sticks on everything, and how truly awful it feels for most people.

He is not going to hold a grudge as long as you don't make it about him (the fact that he is a filthy stinky smoker).


It's not an unreasonable request, so as long as you are polite about it then there aren't really any wrong answers. I wouldn't go into much detail about how much you smell after, though.

"Hey man, I don't usually mind the smell of smoke much, but riding in your car for too long really starts to irritate my nose. Unfortunately, I think I need to drive on my own. Thanks for understanding."

  • 2
    You could even say "hey, let's take my car this time... no smoking in transit, please; we'll take a driving break if you need your hit. '
    – keshlam
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 15:33
  • 1
    @keshlam, Good friendly offer. However, do the clothes of smokers also smell bad or not ? Maybe, it depends on how much a smoker smoke per day ? Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 18:41
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    If so , carpooling with this individual is simply out. But if not, it keeps the carpool arrangement going.
    – keshlam
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 19:00
  • Could be shorter. Just say "Sorry mate, I gotta drive my own car."
    – Nelson
    Commented Nov 13, 2023 at 6:59
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    @Job_September_2020 Yeah, I wouldn't want to sit in a car with someone who just smoked.
    – Abigail
    Commented Nov 29, 2023 at 17:59

Be honest. Explain to him that you appreciate the offer but as a non-smoker, you would rather take your own vehicle so he can be free to smoke, etc.

It's really that simple.

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