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Ashtrays and in-car cigarette lighters were once about as common in new cars as four tires and a steering wheel. They were ubiquitous features because, if you’re old enough to remember, just about everyone smoked or regularly had passengers in their car who did. But how the times have changed. Now, you need to dish out extra dough if you want an ashtray and lighter in the car, if you can even find such an option, as evidenced by Ford’s Smoker’s Package.

What does Ford include in this package for smokers?

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em

Smokers do not have any real options for a car that caters to their addiction, but Ford does provide an extra-cost alternative in select models, including the Explorer and Escape SUVs, for those who still light up. The stand-alone Smoker’s Package includes an in-car lighter and a removable cupholder ashtray. But as any smoker will tell you, it’s not a cheap habit, and neither is Ford’s package.

The Smoker’s Package tacks on $75 to a model’s asking price. That’s quite a bit of dough when a quick review of Amazon lists a myriad of similar ashtrays for about $10 and car lighters for about $7.

At least Ford could slap on its logo or something to make the price hike seem justifiable. Then again, Ford’s PR team would probably nix that idea immediately as they would suggest the company completely distance itself from anything tobacco-related.

High pricing aside, it remains to be seen just how long Ford, or any other automaker for that matter, continues to recognize that there are still smokers who buy new cars. Maybe one day we’ll see vape battery chargers as a stand-alone option, but we aren’t holding our breath for that one.

Ashtrays aren’t the only once-popular car features lost to time

Car technology and styling continually evolves—particularly in the last decade—and as such, many once-common car features now don’t even exist or are rapidly being phased out. For instance, when was the last time you saw a massively long radio antenna protruding from the front fender, A-pillar or trunk of a new car? How about a vent window or a bulky hood ornament?

Other car features can still be found, but they are rapidly fading into the automotive annals of yesteryear. These include hand-crank windows, full-size spare tires, CD players (Lexus seems to be holding strong in this area), a non-electric parking brake, or a set of traditional keys.

Even mainstream economy cars now offer keyless entry and push-button start, and more brands are introducing features that allow drivers to use their cell phones to unlock and start their rides. As such, keyholes are now being phased out almost in their entirety.

Drive enough new cars and you’ll find many brands are starting to phase out traditional switchgear. Drivers are instead required to use capacitive or touchscreen controls or use voice commands that often don’t seem to have a grasp of the English language.

So perhaps one day these features will be akin to how we now view in-car cigarette lighters and ashtrays. Maybe we can expect Ford to offer a Millennial’s Package in 2040 that includes a CD player for only $2,000.


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