Secondhand smoke facts.

This afternoon, I attended the press conference held by Sen. Brandon Bell (R-Roanoke) to promote his Indoor Clean Air Act. After hearing what he had to say, I think I’m convinced. Here are some of the interesting things that I learned:

  • One thousand Virginian die because of secondhand smoke each year.
  • Every eight smokers that dies kills one non-smoker.
  • Secondhand smoke contains over 200 poisons, of which 70 cause cancer.
  • Of American SIDS deaths, 2,500 are attributed to secondhand smoke.
  • One million asthma attacks are caused by secondhand smoke each year.

But there were two factors that I found particularly persuasive with regard to the importance of this bill. The first was that nagging question of why in the world we’d ban smoking in bars. The reason is because, famously, there are no bars in Virginia. Only restaurants. And changing those laws is way outside of the scope of some smoking law. The second was the point that the primary purpose of this bill is not to protect the general public, but to protect employees. Anybody who works in a smoky environment for years will inevitably suffer health consequences. Many restaurant owners are concerned about this — particularly large chains, who well know they’re a lawsuit target — but no restaurant wants to be the first to ban smoking. This bill will protect restaurants from legal liability and, more important, restaurants’ employees from injury or death.

I understand that this bill will have a crucial subcommittee vote tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon, after it’s heard by the Committee on General Laws. I certainly hope that anybody interested in seeing this bill pass will find the time to attend that subcommittee meeting in mid-afternoon.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

71 replies on “Secondhand smoke facts.”

  1. I really want to support this bill, I do. But I guess all the the free-market talk at GMU has gotten to me. Do you have an answer to these objections?:

    1) if people really care about second-hand smoke, then the first guy to ban smoking will get windfall profits and more job applicants, and if he doesn’t, he can just reverse his policy.
    2) the employees that work in smoking places knowingly chose to work there and, furthermore, there’s probably a risk premium built into their wages same as construction workers or people that work in Iraq.

    Can you answer these without resorting to government paternalism?

  2. The reason that this bill is getting such great support is that the restaurant industry loves it. Why? The same reason that so many other industries beg to be regulated: nobody wants to be the first mover. As a rule, being the first to do anything in business is a mistake. It’s better to let others go first, get burned, learn what not to do, and follow them, correcting where necessary. Generally, when an industry asks to be regulated, it’s reasonable to go ahead and do it. Also, in this case, nobody wants to be the bad guy. If Outback Steakhouse bans smoking in their restaurants, smokers will get uppity and declare a boycott. Ditto for any number of other major chains. But if they can point to Virginia and say “hey, it’s state law,” nobody gets mad at them.

    Remember that we have all kinds of standards for what constitutes a safe workplace. OSHA opponents want no standards for workplaces at all. If you choose to work in a mine with no safety equipment, emergency procedures, or supervision well, heck, that’s your business. We know that market forces work entirely differently w/r/t employees — employers have the upper hand, given the unemployment rate and the “right to work” laws in the state.

    And, of course, there’s no risk premium built into their wages. I mean, if you can figure out how that fits into $2.13/hour, I’d love to hear it. :)

    Smoking occupies a weird place in western culture. On the one hand, it’s incredibly dangerous to third parties exposed to it — it kills thousands of people every year, and injures many more. It’s a bizarre habit of burning poisons in public. On the other hand, it remains as normal and acceptable as it was 50 years ago, before the tobacco industry admitted how deadly that it is. It’s no stranger than if people claimed a right to suck on plutonium sticks or inhale anthrax from paper backs, and insisted on doing so in crowded public spaces.

    I don’t pretend to know enough about this bill to be able to properly speak on behalf of it. But I do know that there’s something fundamentally fucked-up about knowingly, regularly exposing employees to over 200 toxins and subsequently shorting their lives or killing them, claiming that, hey, they made their $2.13/hour, so quitcherbitchin. Crazy.

  3. But, continuing to play devil’s advocate, possible responses include:

    – if outback did ban smoking, smokers might get upset. but, we that should be more than offset by the number of nonsmokers who would now flock to outback. if that didn’t happen, that means people don’t care about second hand and we’re back to simple government paternalism

    – on the 2.13 an hour thing – that, of course, does not include tips which, for bartenders, barbacks and waitresses are quite substantial. i know several lawyers who still tend bar at night cause the mone is so good. i’ve heard of bar tenders (or, in va, as you point out, restaurant tenders) who can make 40-50K, and we can easily imagine that part of that salary represents a risk premium.

    – the fact that the restaurant industry wants this doesn’t tell us anything about what consumers want. if we make all restaurants ban smoking, that’s a lot of consumer surplus that ill never be realized. and you can say that consumers shouldn’t want that surplus but then you’re back to paternalism.

    Like I said, I might well vote for this bill if I was a legislator but I don’t think I could do so without admitting to a certain amount of paternalism which always makes some people upset.

  4. if outback did ban smoking, smokers might get upset. but, we that should be more than offset by the number of nonsmokers who would now flock to outback.

    Yeah, but then they’re the subject of controversy. And they don’t want that.

    on the 2.13 an hour thing – that, of course, does not include tips which, for bartenders, barbacks and waitresses are quite substantial.

    It can be quiet substantial, but generally aren’t, if the experience of my bartender, waiter, and barista friends in C’ville, Richmond and Manhattan is any indicator. I’ve put in a few years in food service. The tips were nothing to write home about.

    There’s a reason why you don’t meet a lot of career waiters.

  5. Where do get that restaurants “want” this? Any backup for that?

    There are plenty restaurants that do not allow smoking already. Has it hurt their business? I would say probably not for the places like Arby’s, McDonalds, etc. where meals are quick. The problem comes when you have long relaxed dinners or alcohol and a band. I can eat at Red Lobster and not smoke. I can eat at Arby’s, McDonalds, etc. and not smoke. But when it comes to going out for a fat steak and taters and then a night at the local blues bar, I will not sit there and drink without smoking. The whole mood is lost. Right, I’m going to drag myself outside to smoke a cigarette on the street, miss the band and lose my seat? No way~!!! Yes, the bars will hurt ALOT.

    Why are non-smokers so adamant about this? Take Outback as an example. They don’t allow smoking in the main dining room. You sit in the bar and eat/smoke all you want. What’s wrong with that set-up? Same with lonestar; two separate dining rooms. Do you not eat at Outback and Lonestar now?

  6. This bill smacks of big brother. I firmly believe that the market should dictate this policy. If enough people don’t want smoking in restaraunts, let them go to non-smoking ones. And if it hurts business, you can best believe they will – on their own – refuse to allow smoking in their establishments. If they lack the guts to stop smoking in their facilities on their own, them shame on them. Don’t use the government to do what the market can do on its own.

  7. I think the only way to justify this bill is to come out and admit that sometimes people just don’t know what’s good for them. People are high discounters – they wan’t satisfaction right now (going to bar with smoke or working there) even if it means costs tomorow (cancer). Waldo’s facts are very compelling but I will most likely still go out to a bar tomorow night and proximity to second hand smoke will probably not factor into my decision of which bar to go to. Why don’t we just admit that, in this situation, we need the legislature to save us from ourselves?

  8. On the tips issue – I actually think the amount that waiters get paid is irrelevant. It just matters that its a little higher than a comparable job with no exposure to smoke. Assuming that people know the dangers of second hand smoke, they would be irrational not to demand some compensation for working a job where they would be exposed to it. And if workers have to take jobs with smoke because those are the only jobs around then I submit we have bigger problems than second hand smoke.

  9. Where do get that restaurants “want” this? Any backup for that?

    From Sen. Brandon Bell’s comments at his press conference today.

    He provided some additional key facts that I found compelling:

    1. Government has a basic obligation to protect the health and safety of the community.
    2. Businesses do not have a right to harm their employees.
    3. Businesses are and must be subject to a large number of healthy and safety regulations, and that this is within the scope of responsible government.
    4. Nearly every study conducted on smoke-free indoor air laws has demonstrated that the laws have at worst no impact on the economy. Some show a positive effect.
    5. A 2005 Mason-Dixon poll found that 84% of Virginians believe that all workers in Virginia should be protected from secondhand smoke; this law enjoys overwhelming public support.

    If making smoking illegal to protect consumers and employees is paternalism, how is that different than laws that prohibit feces in food or that require laundering of bedding in motels? Is it up to the consumer whether they choose to eat the busboy’s shit or sleep in week-old bodily fluids? If a restaurant wants to allow patrons to smoke crack or a motel wants to permit people to rent out rooms to make crystal meth, should the market decide if that’s acceptable? Or does government have a duty to protect employees and citizens from danger?

  10. On the tips issue – I actually think the amount that waiters get paid is irrelevant. It just matters that its a little higher than a comparable job with no exposure to smoke.

    Mark, do you have any reason to suspect that smokers tip more than non-smokers? Or that patrons of restaurants that permit smoking tip more than restaurants that do not permit it?

  11. If making smoking illegal to protect consumers and employees is paternalism, how is that different than laws that prohibit feces in food or that require laundering of bedding in motels? Is it up to the consumer whether they choose to eat the busboy’s shit or sleep in week-old bodily fluids?

    Asymmetry of information. The consumer in those situations can’t always tell if there’s shit in their food or fluids in their sheets. With smoking, it’s obvious right away.

    If a restaurant wants to allow patrons to smoke crack or a motel wants to permit people to rent out rooms to make crystal meth, should the market decide if that’s acceptable? Or does government have a duty to protect employees and citizens from danger?

    I think that’s a good point. Paternalism isn’t always bad e.g. the case of people who decide they want to smoke crack. Those people need the government’s protection. Why not just admit that this smoking bill is of the same type?

    I think this is an interesting bill cause it shows that most people aren’t libertarians at heart. You can’t justify this bill in terms of economics but, as you said, kowingly exposing workers to health hazards is just “fucked-up”. We just plain dont want it.

  12. we need the legislature to save us from ourselves

    Thanks, but I’m an adult. I can chose what’s best for me. I don’t need you or the government to protect me from myself. That is SO demeaning!!!!! Do you want the government to decide you have to run 5 miles every morning because it’s what’s best for you? Hey, it would cut down on traffic too! How about they decide you can no longer eat beef? It’s sushi and wild rice in America? What about those “type A” personalities that shorten everyone’s lifespans, want to outlaw them too? I’m a pretty passive person. I’ll vote for that.

    Please, give me a break!

    Of American SIDS deaths, 2,500 are attributed to secondhand smoke

    How in the heck can they say that SIDS deaths are attributed to secondhand smoke when they (scientists?) don’t even know what causes SIDS?

    One million asthma attacks are caused by secondhand smoke each year

    Would this be because these asthma sufferers smoke like my next-door neighbor?

    I don’t care who you are, if you are human, you have some faults and more than one bad habit. Smokers just happen to carry theirs on the outside where those that like to control can take their shots. You can gripe all you want about the secondhand smoke but the reality is you are getting just as many chemicals in the food you eat and the air you breathe. If people really were only interested in the health concerns and not simply trying to control what other people do, they would be able to allow smokers to smoke in places away from others.

  13. Until the state of Virginia drops its requirements that establishments selling alcohol need also to provide a “food” alternative. I support this ban. Actually I support the ban anyway, but the “must sell food also” is a dumb law as well.

    Having smoking and non-smoking areas in the same restaurant are never effective. Look at places like Chili’s, Fridays, Applebees, etc.. the floor layout is almost the same in each of these restaurant’s (especially in Cville). The bar is in the center of the floorplan, the smoking tables are those closest to the bar, and the outer periphery constitutes the non-smoking areas. Smoke dispurses. How does that make sense? It doesn’t, unless you want to have an entirely separate walled off room for smokers, and most restaurants don’t do that.

    And now for the more pertinent part of my post…

    That a “Smoking Ban” will hurt the restaurant business is a myth. The Cities of Los Angeles, and Santa Monica instituted a similar no smoking ban. The restaurant industry lobbied against it using the same arguments that it would hurt business. But they passed the law anyway. To date no restaurant in the L.A. area shut down because of the smoking ban.

    In a different thread on this topic I suggested that if they don’t pass this law then we should all take a look at where smoking isn’t specifically outlawed but is “traditionally” not acceptable (like a grocery store or library) and then start smoking in those places. My point there as it is now is that were people do and do not smoke is largely a matter of “social convention.” In the 1970’s people used to smoke while shopping at grocery stores. Now the grocery store is a non-smoking environment. Didn’t hurt their business any.

    What’s driving the real opposition to this bill is the addiction of the smoker.

    This issue is a lot like that of the gas station owner that refuses to institute a pay at the pump policy because they are afraid it would cut down on foot traffic and convience store purchases, but still suffers drive offs. When the fact of the matter is that having “pay at the pump” machines frees up the convience store attendant to devote more time to people making purchases in the store. Okay it’s not exactly the same issue.. but generally speaking it is.. in that it’s a change that a business owner is afraid to make b/c of the “alleged” conventional wisdom. When the truth is that making the change really won’t hurt the business at all.

    Ban smoking indoors and at restaurants. People will find other places and times to get their fix. Smokers can smoke and drive. However if I’m a drinker I can’t do the same. (and no I’m not advocating for any such equity, I’m using an extreme example to make a point). The point being that I as a potential drinker have to wait for the appropriate time and place to enjoy my vice. Smoking’s no different. They (smokers) should wait for the appropriate time and place to get their fix as well, and restaurants are and should no longer be that place. Not at the expence of public health.

  14. Cigarettes first, then overweight/unhealthy people, then the drinkers. All choices. All unhealthy. All a public risk. It’s already started. Notice how the government and healthcare companies are starting to “complain” about unhealthly lifestyles? Notice how companies are starting to say they’re going to fire people unless they lose x pounds? Too little exercise, too much fat, too much tanning, too much….. whatever.

    You want to promote the government telling you what you can eat, how many times you must exercise, go right ahead. It’s going to feel a lot different when the shoe is on your foot.

  15. I will freely admit that secondhand smoke makes people uncomfortable and will agitate people with asthma and similar afflictions, much the way too much hairspray and perfume might. I have a concern with the fatality statistics that are being thrown about, because there have been abuses of science performed in the offense against Environmental Tobacco Smoke. I have little time to debate this evening, but I would like to recommend that people read the following links, and especially Waldo, if you could see if the source of information matches the source for the statistics you were quoting above.

    http://www.pipes.org/Articles/second_hand_science.html
    http://www.pipes.org/Articles/Bliley.html

    As you may gather from the links, I’m an occasional pipe smoker. I suspect the information is available elsewhere, but honestly, it’s a lot easier finding links to the original study than to the analysis of the poor science that went into making it.

  16. Thanks, but I’m an adult. I can chose what’s best for me. I don’t need you or the government to protect me from myself.

    Let’s not take this personally, we’re just having a policy debate. But, since you brought it up, do you oppose drug laws?

  17. Did the Senator provide any references/information on this “1000 Virginians die from secondhand smoke every year”?

    I loathe cigarette smoking. However,…

    How does one substantiate that someone has died from secondhand smoke? I can see it as a *potential* contributing factor, but I can’t see how it can be claimed as fact. Unless perhaps all 1000 people have tar stained lungs?

    Is it just the incidence of lung cancer? Well, my grandmother died of lung cancer. Never smoked. Never allowed anyone in her house to smoke. Didn’t go places with smoke – rarely dined out, didn’t fly on airplanes, didn’t play bingo etc.

  18. How can you say, don’t take it personally when you are suggesting that the government needs to tell me, a grown person, that I shouldn’t do something that is legal? That’s way too personal for me. If they want to make smoking illegal, then do it. The holier-than-thou “I know what’s best for you, Lucy” just ain’t gonna cut it with me. I have parents for that stuff…

    Oppose drug laws? Do you mean would I support legalizing certain drugs? I’m on the fence with marijuana. I’m not sure it’s any more dangerous than alcohol if it were allowed under the same restrictions as alcohol. I’ve never tried it and I don’t know enough about the drug to say for sure one way or the other. I understand there are some concerns with long-term brain cell damage but I haven’t studied it. As long as it’s illegal, I would never allow it anywhere near me or my family. As far as other illegal drugs (cocaine, crack, etc.); No, I would not support legalizing these drugs. The difference to me is the fierce addiction and the extreme physical side effects.

  19. That a “Smoking Ban” will hurt the restaurant business is a myth.

    Hmmm… maybe, maybe not… but it will definitely close down at least one very popular bar. The owner will close. She smokes as well. You tell her she can’t smoke in the building she is paying premo rates for and she’ll just go back to the old “garage” parties like in the old days. Sure, another place may open but those of us that frequent her establishment regularly and fork out the major bucks to enjoy the food and entertainment will not patron the non-smoking establishment.

  20. My point with drugs question was that most people admit that drug laws are OK even though its a clear example of the government saving people from themselves. And you say you favor criminalizing crack, etc. So the question is not Is paternalism ok? but When is paternalism ok?

    In this case, we have an opportunity to save a bunch of people who will get sick and die at the cost of smokers having to occasionally step outisde for drag. Is that really so outrageous?

  21. God, a Republican came out and said that the “Government has a basic obligation to protect the health and safety of the community?” Is this not amazing to anyone else out there? I can’t think of the last time a conservative came out with that strong a stance for government protection of health and safety. How about we clean up coal plant emissions, which contribute to as many, if not more health problems than second hand smoke (not necessarily more than smoking)? What about protecting people from the more major causes of illnesses – industial pollution. If environementals starting selling more stuff based on health and safety (which I think they should), I guess they could count on Sen. Bell’s vote.

    One thing about all the current examples of smoking bans that have been mentioned – they are all local bans. Counties and cities ban smoking. I think that this has worked out well in those localities who think it is an issue. I think that this is how this issue should be handled. Let localities determine whether or not to ban smoking. For the record, bartenders and waiters/waitresses I have met tend to be the heaviest smokers. Whether that’s a post hoc, propter hoc issue would be an interesting study.

  22. “If you have finished Stephen, pray smoke away. I am sure you bought some of your best mundungas in Mahon”

    “If you are sure you really do not find it disagreeable,” said Stephen, instantly feeling in his pockets, “I believe I may. For me tobacco is the crown of the meal, the best opening to a day, a great enhancer of the quality of life. The crackle and yield of this little paper cylinder,” he said, holding it up, “gives me a sensual pleasure whose deeper origins I blush to contemplate, while the slow combustion of the whole yields a gratification that I should not readily abandon even if it did me harm, which it does not. Far from it. On the contrary, tobacco purges the mind of its gross humours, sharpens the wits, renders the judicious smoker sprightly and vivacious. And soon I shall need all my sprightliness and vivacity.”

    from The Ionian Mission by Patrick O’Brian

  23. In this case, we have an opportunity to save a bunch of people who will get sick and die at the cost of smokers having to occasionally step outisde for drag. Is that really so outrageous?

    Yes, it is outrageous. You will not “save a bunch of people” by banning smoking in public places. What you will do is erode the rights of citizens of this state because they partake in a LEGAL activity. We could save a bunch of people by banning beef. We could save a whole lot more people by banning alcohol. Alcohol causes innocent people to die on the highways, is frequently a factor in domestic abuse situations, etc. Are we going to see it outlawed? Well, only if drinkers become the minority and the state doesn’t need the taxes. That’s the only difference here. IT’S LEGAL!

    My brother-in-law is allergic to seafood. He can’t eat in a restaurant that serves any seafood because the utensils may become contanimated. There are thousands in his position. Does that mean the state has a right to ban the serving of seafood in restaurants? He can’t eat at Outback either. Where does it stop?

    The state has a duty to protect the workers by banning smoking in bars? Hardly! If you don’t like it, don’t work there. I wouldn’t work in the coal mines, it’s too much risk for me. I wouldn’t be an airline pilot, there’s too much risk. Uhhh, hello! Being a soldier is VERY dangerous but we’re not going to outlaw that either, are we?

    Either make smoking tobacco illegal or leave it alone.

  24. A few quick points and then I’ve got to run — I’ll contribute later.

    1. Remember (I’m talking to you, Lucy), this bill isn’t about keeping people from harming themselves. It’s to keep them from harming others.
    2. One cannot favor smoking and oppose the use of crack and claim an opposition to all government paternalism.
    3. The CDC and the NIH have, along with health and life insurance companies, spent decades determining the health effects of the tiniest personal habits, such that a risk factor and a dollar value can be attached to that activity. It’s easy for any one of us to declare that they can’t know. They can, of course. That’s what they do. That’s why you get $10,000 from your insurance company if you lose a hand, $100,000 for an arm, and $250,000 for your legs. How do they know what they’re worth? They know. It’s their job.
    4. The source of many of these statistics is the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the American Lung Association.
    5. Again, any argument against this bill must explain why you can simultaneously oppose the making of meth in motel rooms.
    6. Finally, saying that “this isn’t fair because smoking isn’t illegal” is begging the question. This bill would, in fact, making smoking illegal in places. Would that make it fair?

    Gotta go.

  25. I must admit this is an interesting discussion, but the below statement by Waldo defies logic

    “The same reason that so many other industries beg to be regulated: nobody wants to be the first mover. As a rule, being the first to do anything in business is a mistake.”

    ??????? If you you were a business major in college you need a refresher and I would challenge you to find many CEOs who “beg to be regulated” and agrees with the statement that “nobody wants to be the first mover.”

    Somehow I can’t see Trump, Martha Stewart, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and every other successful CEO in this nation agreeing with your assessment.

  26. Bill,

    Let’s please not forget that Dr. Stephen Maturin is slowly revealed throughout the course of the series to be highly prone both to addiction to dangerous substances and to lofty, poetic praise of whatever drug has caught his fancy at the time.

    We witness something like 6 or 7 books in which the alcoholic tincture of laundanum is hailed by Dr. Maturin as the “true pharmacopia.” Maturin doses himself with over a hundred drops every evening in order to ‘steady his nerves.’ On abandoning the laudanum after an accident involving overdose, he soon picks up coaca leaves in Peru and becomes an inveterate chewer of the leaves claiming that they ‘sharpen the mind’ and enable the body to undergo the most remarkable of physical challenges with no ill effects. I don’t recall that ending very well either.

    Of all of the characters in western literature who did ever praise tobacco, Dr. Steven Maturin y Domanova was probably the very last which I would have chosen had I wished to bolster the case for it’s acceptance.

    Let’s be honest. Patrick O’Brian could probably have managed to describe a colonoscopy in such poetic terms as to make one long for a visit to the proctologist.

  27. Waldo wrote:
    Smoking occupies a weird place in western culture. On the one hand, it’s incredibly dangerous to third parties exposed to it — it kills thousands of people every year, and injures many more. It’s a bizarre habit of burning poisons in public. On the other hand, it remains as normal and acceptable as it was 50 years ago, before the tobacco industry admitted how deadly that it is. It’s no stranger than if people claimed a right to suck on plutonium sticks or inhale anthrax from paper backs, and insisted on doing so in crowded public spaces.

    This is ridiculous and you know it. Plutonium and anthrax are much more clearly detrimental to health than second hand smoke, to the point where they’re both fairly easilly manufactured into weapons (“of mass destruction” at that). I’d like to see someone build a dirty bomb out of cigarette butts. The health effects of second hand smoke are still a bit hazier.

    That’s not to say that I deny second hand smoke’s health effects. Being the liberal that I am, I certainly value the employees’ health, and if you’re in the restaurant business, well, there’s often not much choice about working in a smoking or a non-smoking restaurant. So something should be done about this situation.

    However, being the liberal that I am, I also believe that I should be able to go to a place with other consenting adults and do something that it’s legal for consenting adults to do. How do I reconcile these differences? Easy. Make restaurants get a “smoking license” in the same way they get a liquor license. Any establishment with a smoking license must meet certain healthy air quality standards. Government testing would be done in a similar manner to how the government regulates liquor licenses, and it’d be paid for by the costs of the smoking license. This might make it costly, and providing the ventilation in enclosed spaces would be as well, so I imagine that you’d be able to make certain areas designated smoking areas (well sealed rooms with lots of airflow, outdoor patios) for the purposes of the license. Furthermore, the costs involved would mean that immediately, 95% of establishments would become non-smoking, and smokers would pay a premium for the convenience. This is just fine by me, because it actually solves the issues of workers’ rights and yet offers people alternatives.

    Until such legislation is introduced, I cannot, as a liberal, endorse any such ban on smoking in public.

    One final note:

    One cannot favor smoking and oppose the use of crack and claim an opposition to all government paternalism.

    Of course one can! It’s just when anti-drug legislation is introduced that things get hairy. I know this may seem like a pedantic point, but I for one favor less restrictive drug laws, but if pot were made legal tomorrow, I’d still have no interest in consuming it.

  28. There is a very large number of people in America who are usually left completely out of debates like this. I’m talking about those of us who really just don’t give a shit.

    Yes, 84% of Virginians agreed in a poll that employees should be protected from second hand smoke. But it would be stretching the truth to suggest that anywhere near that many really give a shit. The vast majority of those people came up with an answer when they were pressed for one. And then completely forgot about the issue altogether.

    I don’t smoke. Well, I do have a number of pipes and every now and then I will smoke some pipe tobacco in the course of an evening’s repose in my study, with a bottle of fine ale at my side, my hounds at my feet and a crisp new issue of Mad magazine on my lap. But that’s only an occasional thing. I don’t really like cigarette smoke. When I get a whiff of it through the vents in my office it drives me up the wall. Yet it doesn’t seem to bother me much in restaraunts and bars. As several of you have pointed out, there are some places where smoking is socially acceptable and others where it is not. Somehow, it only bothers me in the socially unacceptable places.

    This is, fundamentally, why I don’t really give a shit whether this proposal becomes law or not. I don’t think that any fundamental principles of liberty are at issue here and I’m not worried about setting a precedent one way or another. I sincerely believe that this is the position of the vast majority of Virginians. We just don’t care.

  29. Okay, the making of meth in a hotel room is soooo far afield from smoking in a restaurant that it doesn’t even belong in this discussion.

    As a motel patron, I don’t expect the room next door and mine to blow to kingdom come.

    When I enter a restaurant that allows smoking, I expect to encounter smoke particles.

  30. this bill isn’t about keeping people from harming themselves. It’s to keep them from harming others.

    Who are we harming? People that decide for themselves to enter a place with known risks? Not my fault they make the decision to come in the bar. Just like it’s not the government’s fault if I choose to work in a coal mine and get black lung. It’s a chosen risk. It’s not the government’s fault if I get in a race car, crash and die at Daytona. It’s a chosen risk. It’s nice that the government gives us a lot of information on the dangers of things. This gives us the ability to make an informed decision. But they shouldn’t erode my rights because some people are whining about being able to eat in the bar at Outback. That’s not where the government belongs.

    One cannot favor smoking and oppose the use of crack and claim an opposition to all government paternalism.

    First, who said I claim an opposition to all gov’t paternalism? There are many appropriate places for the gov’t to step in, this just isn’t one of them.

    Second, Crack and Cigarettes do not belong in the same conversation.

    Crack is a mind-altering drug. It is also extremely physically addictive to the point that people will kill to have it or die without it. As with other very dangerous drugs, it should be controlled.

    Cigarettes are not mind-altering. They do not impair the ability to make decisions. Cigarettes are mildly addictive. The addiction is not the drug or we’d all be able to stick on a patch and go on our merry way. The addiction is an oral fixation, the inhalation/exhalation of smoke, the flavor. There is no “high”.

    It’s my opinion that cigarettes are much less of a detriment to society than alcohol. How can you approve of a ban on smoking and not insist there also be a ban on alcohol?

    I’m not even going to comment further on the meth labs. That’s so out of context here. I don’t think Phillip Morris is going to explode and burn down your house anytime soon…

    I don’t care how many numbers you come up with or whose study you quote. Smoking is legal. It’s all about choices. Humans have choices. If you don’t want to be around cigarette smoke, you don’t have to go to places that allow smoking. That’s your choice. If the government decides that no one can smoke in a bar, that’s taking away MY choices. If they left it up to the businesses, there’s a choice available for everyone. The government does not have the right to eliminate LEGAL choices just because they want to….

    If there were so many people who really hated it to the point that they don’t go to these places, then why are these places still open? Smokers are the very minority these days. If only smokers were eating at Outback, there would be no Outback…

  31. The debate this weak bill is causing is quite amusing to me, having moved here from a state that outlaws smoking in ALL public places.

    Most folks want government to regulate behavior that endangers others. The use of drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes can cause behavior that endangers others, so their use is prohibited or regulated with the intention of minimizing harm. No one cares if you want to destroy your brain, liver, lungs – go for it. It is when your destructive behavior has the potential to harm others that the problem arises.

    Heck outlawing smoking in all public places is just the first step. Frankly, I think smokers should be restricted to smoking only in their own homes. I cannot tell you how many times I have been stuck at a stoplight and smelled the cigarette smoke emanating from the car in front of me, or been walking down the street and had it waft over from some fool puffing away even yard away. In addition, it should be illegal for parents to smoke if their children live with them. Folks who smoke in front of their children should be brought up on charges of abuse and endangerment. It is illegal to beat your children black and blue because it endangers their lives. Being exposed to cigarette smoke endangers their lives too, so why wouldn’t we want to protect our children from it as well?

    The next bill we need is a huge cigarette tax to begin to pay for all of the medical bills the government gets socked with as a result of people getting sick from all the cigarette smoking going on. Yep, there is still a lot of work to be done! But I suppose this bill, weak as it is, is as a good a place to start as any.

  32. If you you were a business major in college you need a refresher and I would challenge you to find many CEOs who “beg to be regulated” and agrees with the statement that “nobody wants to be the first mover.”

    Somehow I can’t see Trump, Martha Stewart, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and every other successful CEO in this nation agreeing with your assessment.

    Those are both common misconceptions.

    Warren Buffett, for instance, has invented nothing. He’s created no new concepts. He simply works within existing fields very well, improving on what has already been done. Bill Gates made his billions by imitating an existing operating system (with DOS) and then another one (Mac OS). He made billions more by imitating Lotus 1-2-3 and WordPerfect, creating Excel and Word. Michael Dell didn’t invent the sale of computers by mail — he just did it better than everybody else. Why? Because being a trail breaker is exhausting, unrewarding, and dangerous. It’s better to be the guy walking right behind the guy who’s breaking trail — no work, less danger, and it’s ultimately more rewarding. This is Business 101 here.

    Ditto for regulation. Industries want to be regulated because it’s easier than competing. Damned near every heavily-regulated industry is heavily regulated because they want to be; or, at least, the biggest businesses within those industries want to be. I spent ten minutes watching a bill go before a subcommittee yesterday — the regulation of court reporters. Court reporters want very much to have to be licensed and approved. Why? Firstly because it keeps out the dilettantes, because of the a barrier to entry. It’s protectionism. Secondly because it helps maintain a high reputation for the business, preventing many incompetent people from getting into the business. The same is true for insurance, healthcare, banking, etc., etc. They want to be regulated, and that’s why they are.

  33. This is ridiculous and you know it. Plutonium and anthrax are much more clearly detrimental to health than second hand smoke, to the point where they’re both fairly easilly manufactured into weapons (”of mass destruction” at that). I’d like to see someone build a dirty bomb out of cigarette butts.

    I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all. Both plutonium and the chemicals in cigarettes will injure in low doses and kill in higher doses. Both are labeled as poisons, both are available only to a restricted audience. The only difference is that one is fashionable to inhale.

    Ditto for meth. Both meth and cigarettes are addictive. Both kill. Both injure others in the course of being used. Why can’t I smoke meth in a restaurant?

    Seriously, I’d really like to know why it’s acceptable to smoke cigarettes in a restaurant but not cook meth in a motel. And “cigarettes are legal and meth is not” is not a valid response — again, it’s begging the question. We’re talking about the fundamental underpinnings for the law, not the law itself.

  34. I think the best example of what Waldo’s trying to say here is the EPA. Businesses lobbied for the creation of the EPA (which was created by a Republican president, Nixon, no less) because they wanted to deal with only national regulation instead of the patchwork of state regulations. In that case the motivation for regulation was not to ‘not be the trailblazer’, but instead simplify compliance.

    I think Waldo’s partial right about the fear of being the ‘first’, but I also think there is great incentive to be first (name awareness, trademarks, etc). In this case, there is a fear of alienating local customers; thats why you don’t see a lot of bar/resturants that have an outright ban on smoking in areas without a mandated local ban.

    As is often the case, I think the truth in this matter lies somewhere between protecting other citizens from secondhand smoke and being overly paternalistic. There is a general amount of risk associated with going out to bars (yes, I know, they aren’t bars per se in VA) much like driving. Not even drunk driving, but driving in general is probably the most risky activity you do daily. I think that the statewide ban should apply to especially vunerable classes (elderly, children) in that you shouldn’t be able to smoke in retirement homes or in resturants where children are likely to be. You shouldn’t be able to smoke in places where people need to go: banks, post offices, office buildings, etc. Maybe put a time limit on the ban – no smoking before 10 at resturant/bars. Or if secondhand smoke is the main concern here (as has been expressed numerous times), why not push for more ventilation in bars to prevent diffusion of smoke through the air? A statewide ban is not the only way to help protect people from the risks of secondhand smoke.

  35. A bill banning smoking in all public places would not be limited to indoor areas – outdoor areas would also be included. Smoking would not be allowed on the downtown mall in Charlottesville, for example, because it is a public area where people tend to congregate. Parks, outdoor restaurant areas, anyplace where people might congregate would be included in such a ban. In addition, smoking would not permitted within a certain area outside of buildings (to eliminate folks having to run the gauntlet of smokers who are out getting a quick fix).

    Look, I used to smoke. I really enjoyed it – in fact I smoked for close to 15 years. When I married my husband, I quit because I did not want to endanger him or the children that I would have. It was really hard. So now when I breathe the smoke that comes from a cigarette someone else is enjoying, I get a bit resentful: I would like to be enjoying one too, but I chose to make a difficult sacrifice to improve my health and that of my family.

    Perhaps the fairest solution would be to create enclosed public smoking rooms that are fitted with ventilation systems. That way, smokers can be free to smoke in public, and the rest of us can be free to breath cigarette-smoke free air.

  36. What was your major Waldo? Because, to be frank, you seem to be talking out of your ass on the issue of “….as a rule, being the first to do anything in business is a mistake.”

    A RULE? Come on

  37. Re: meth v. tobacco –

    Meth is a relatively new drug first of all. Tobacco has been around for over 300 years. Also, there are levels of addictiveness and withdrawal. Tobacco (cigarettes) are addictive, but not as much as meth or say, herion.

    The real question you have to ask yourself is why is tobacco legal and pot not? Pot is not addictive, doesn’t contain near the amount of poisons that cigarettes do. So why is it illegal? Hint: it has to do with the early 1900’s foresting lobby and the use of hemp for paper and other replacements for wood, not because of the dangers of pot.

  38. “If you you were a business major in college you need a refresher and I would challenge you to find many CEOs who “beg to be regulated” and agrees with the statement that “nobody wants to be the first mover.

    “Somehow I can’t see Trump, Martha Stewart, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and every other successful CEO in this nation agreeing with your assessment.”

    And if *you* were an economics major in college, or even just interested in the field then I suggest that you brush up on Mancur Olson’s seminal works, ‘The Logic of Collective Action’ and it’s followup, ‘The Rise and Decline of Nations,’ Olson offered compelling evidence that trade groups will frequently work together to lobby for greater state regulation of their industry in order to restrict entry to the trade by potential new competetors. The more regulations, requirements and licenses that government mandates, the harder it is for the new guy to get a foothold. Groups always love this.

    Olson’s work is considered by most economists to be classic, must-read, foundational material in institutional economics and political science. I heartily recommend both of the aforementioned books, which stand alongside the work of Adam Smith in both their overall importance to the social sciences and the usefulness and enjoyment offered to the individual reader.

  39. Malena,

    The enclosed smoking rooms? I think they come standard at Walmart (seriously). I worked there for 2 years and the breakroom in the back had two rooms – the regular lunch room, and a small, dingy room for smokers that had a ventilation system that pushed the smoke outdoors. Good idea. One problem: all the managers smoked. They were always in there. The people they knew (and were likely to like) were also smokers. So, basically, to get ahead (at Walmart, I know..) you had to be a smoker…

  40. John, yep, I have seen these rooms at different places where I have worked. In fact, I have sat in them, in the midst of swirling smoke so thick you could hardly see beyond your hand. They seemed to work well in many regards.

    To get ahead at the public accounting firm at which I used to work, you had to play golf. Needless to say, I am not a partner at said firm. Lol! Why am I not surprised to learn that the managers at Walmart are always on break?

  41. Well, ‘always’ is a bit harsh; lets just say there was almost always one in there. If the store manager hadn’t thought I was some sort of freaky supergenius (and tried to recruit me to be an corporate accountant for the home office), I’d have probably spent most of my time outside pushing carts (paid to work out, nothing I had a problem with). Instead I stocked pet food and played with the fishes :)

  42. What was your major Waldo? Because, to be frank, you seem to be talking out of your ass on the issue of “….as a rule, being the first to do anything in business is a mistake.”

    Erm. Were you going to rebut my points, or just accuse me of “talking out of my ass”? The former is a discussion; the latter is flaming.

    If you’re interested in my resume, I’ve owned and operated three businesses, and been an integral part of the start-up strategy of a half dozen more. But I can’t see what it has to do with the topic at hand.

    The rule is simple: Being first is dangerous. Being first is inherently a risk, and stockholders are risk-averse. Be second, and do it better. You’ll have a difficult time naming many major, successful businesses out there who were the first to do what they do. So where are they? Packing the business graveyard.

  43. To expand a bit on my last post and explain how this also connects to being first at things, Mancur Olson also postulated that as trade groups amass in a society and succeed in creating barriers to competition, innovation is stifled. The more trade groups you have, and the more regulations they succeed in securing, the less opportunity and financial need within the industry there will be for innovation.

    When an industry reaches this ‘mature’ point, nobody needs to risk being first at something. The way you make money in that situation is by plodding along with healthy yet not extreme profits. You get a steady, predictable stream of revenue which analysts and lenders love. It’s the entrepreneurs who have a more dramatic risk/reward ratio which encourages being first at something new. Yet the established industry groups do everything they can in terms of regulation to prevent the entrepreneurs from getting anywhere.

    I don’t see this new regulation as being a good example of a rule intended to block new start-ups from entering the restaraunt business. But it does take much of the risk out of voluntarily being the first restaraunt to ban smoking. Each restaraunt owner will feel much better if he knows that his competition next door will not be benefiting from his lost business. So as smoking in public becomes less and less socially acceptable and the odds of voluntary changes in smoking policies increases, it becomes in the group’s best interest to require through law that all members ban smoking at the same time. This bill offers the smoothest way of maintaining the status quo in terms of mutual competition within the group. This is the logic of their collective action.

  44. The question I have with this, and I don’t think it’s one anyone has addressed (forgive me if I missed it, just point me in the right direction) is this:

    Why state-wide? Preceding smoking bans have been local issues: NYC, PG county MD, LA, etc. Why should Virginia, a tobacco state, be the first to adopt this as a state-wide ban? It’s not like the resturant industry would suffer from local bans – all the resturants north of the Potomic didn’t close when smoking was banned in them – resturants in one jurisdiction won’t generally lose business to resturants in the next jurisdiction, its just too far to travel. So why push for a state-wide ban on smoking?

    I think the scope of this bill is too broad (should be local) and the places it effects too general (exceptions for ‘bars’, etc; greater restrictions on places where children will be).

  45. Actually, John, that’s what this bill did as first introduced this year. Many people preferred that, myself included. But the hospitality industry was totally opposed to it. They said that they would support it if it were state-wide. The bill was modified accordingly and — bam — the bill took off.

    Again, it’s because the support for this regulation of restaurants is coming from the restaurants. They want to be able to blame the state, and they want the regulation to to be the same across the state.

  46. As someone who’s working on this bill, I hope Waldo won’t mind me jumping in here and answering this:

    Why state-wide? Preceding smoking bans have been local issues: NYC, PG county MD, LA, etc. Why should Virginia, a tobacco state, be the first to adopt this as a state-wide ban?

    First, let me say that you’re correct – smoking bans are usually done at a local level. However, there are 11 states that have state-wide bans. I can’t name them all off the top of my head, but I know the list includes Delaware, Massachusetts, Florida, California, and New Jersey.

    Virginia’s current law regulating smoking in indoor areas preempts localities from enacting any ordinance stricter than current state law. As Virginia’s law is pretty weak as it stands, that means localities can’t do much.

    The original bill did not address restaurants at the state level, but gave localities the authority to enact and enforce ordinances more stringent than state law. The hospitality/restaurant association objected to this – they preferred state-wide regulation as opposed to local option. Why? Local option creates a patchwork of laws, and restaurants could potentially be competing across localities, if locality A chooses to go smoke-free and locality B doesn’t. The state-wide law creates a level playing field which is more palatable to those impacted.

  47. John,

    Localities don’t have the power to make such a law in Virginia. This is on account of the stupid, anti-Democracy, Dillon rule.

    I agree with you that generally speaking we pass laws that apply more broadly than necessary. Much of the country was furious at the assault weapons ban. There are many states that simply do not have a major problem with gun-related crime and don’t want gun laws formulated by politicians representing large cities being applied to, say, Montana, where it is a man’s natural right to hunt elk with an AK-47 if he sees fit (although the 7.62×39 cartridge is arguably inadequate). Ditto for the federal measure against using cell phones while driving.

  48. As someone who’s working on this bill, I hope Waldo won’t mind me jumping in here and answering this:

    Heck no, I don’t mind. :) I certainly don’t know what I’m talking about — smoking is not a hobby horse of mine, and while I find the facts in favor of this bill compelling, I certainly can’t speak to their origin or demonstrate their veracity.

  49. It’s always nice to be partial corrected by someone in the know. Thanks for the info Cathleen.

    I knew about the Dillon rule issue with localities (likely why Alexandria or Arlington hadn’t done anything already). In this instance, I think that correcting that (as the original bill would have) is the way to go.

    I think the hospitality industry worried a bit too much about competition across localities. I have not heard anything coming from Maryland about the local bans there. I just don’t think it would be that much of an issue. People will go where they go; maybe a few smokers will drive 20 miles to go to a bar that they can smoke in, but I don’t think it’s going to be killing any businesses anytime soon.

    As for the patchwork of laws, I’m sorry, I work in the environmental field: smoking v. non-smoking patchwork laws would be sooo easy to work with compared to the patchwork that is environmental law (plus many resturants are operated in only one locality or are franchies and so the owner only worries about that one store, or a couple at most).

    I understand the objections, I just don’t think they matter that much. I really think the best option is to let localities decide what to do. Screw the hospitality industry :)

  50. How can you say restaurant owners support this ban because of a fear of “being the first”? There are many non-smoking restaurants already.

    Why should even the localities decide? Why not the restaurant owners? I heartily agree with the comment that smoking should be banned from places like banks, grocery stores, schools, day care, retirement homes, etc. But bars? If what you say is true (i.e. that business won’t suffer) then why not allow business owners to make their own decisions?

    Also, I understand Phillip Morris has opened a tobacco lounge in Chicago as a test. They have passed an ordinance very similar to this bill. You pay $10.00 for a pack of hand rolled cigarettes that are filled with your choice of spices and you can enjoy the drink, food and entertainment. As long as a certain percentage of sales come from tobacco sales, they are within the law. Guess what? Even though smokers are ONLY allowed to smoke in this single extremely ventilated, indoor place…. non-smokers are still complaining… Geeeeez!

    Phillip Morris…. Are you there???? PLEASE BRING A SMOKING LOUNGE TO RICHMOND!!! Flights to Chicago are really expensive!

  51. How can you say restaurant owners support this ban because of a fear of “being the first”? There are many non-smoking restaurants already.

    You’re absolutely right, but few of them are the big chains that have the real pull in the hospitality industry. The local joints are dwarfed by the big chains, w/r/t political influence.

  52. Lucy,

    A collective of Business owners *are* making this decision.

    There is a sadly mistaken perception that business owners are usually free-market advocates. Don’t buy into it. American businesses adopt much of the free-market lingo and talk a big game, but once they’ve gotten established they form groups and do everything possible to maintain the profitable status quo and to restrict the entry of new competition. They don’t want the change that a truly free market will tend to bring. They are where they are (rather than failed and penniless) because the way things are and the current state of competion allowed it. To risk changing these circumstances is to risk losses. They’re doing pretty good so they don’t want to rock the boat. If some restaraunts allow smoking and others do not then that is going to cause shifts in the marketplace one way or another. It’s an unknown factor that could shift business from one restaraunt to another. If you’re already making money then why risk being on the losing end of that?

    I say this as part owner of a wholesale insurance brokerage. I’m pretty pro-business. I hear the ‘free market’ rhetoric all the time, yet I constantly witness efforts within the insurance industry to make the club more exclusive and to use the force of law to avoid risking change.

    Thus has it ever been. Look at European trade guilds going back to the fifteenth century. Why did they come up with all those rules and restrictions about how big a loaf of bread had to be and how long an apprentice had to work before being allowed by his employer to act as a journeyman? These were rules that the tradesmen came up with on their own and mostly enforced themselves. Why didn’t they just allow each business owner to make their own decisions? Because of the logic of their collective action to prevent change and ensure steady, predictable income.

    Do you know what happened to the first inventor of the sewing machine? Not Elias Howe, but the guy who came up with it before Howe. Bathelemy Thimonnier built his first sewing machine in Paris, 1830. He made a ton of money cranking out uniforms for the French army by using far less labor than any of his competition. This did not endear him to the local tailor’s guild, who (rather than try to copy his machines or buy them from him) stormed his 80 machine factory and burnt it to the ground. Twice. Thimonnier was chased out of France entirely and was forced to flee to England with a single machine he had managed to salvage.

    That is the brutal reality of industry groups. They hate change, they hate innovation and when they act as a group they will do whatever they can to keep their current distribution of business the same without rocking the boat.

  53. I’m not sure that I’m in a good position to answer that. Obviously, Republican Senator Brandon Bell, if you’re asking about within the GA. And, given the boost that it got when it went statewide, the hospitality industry, if you’re asking about among the public.

    But others are better equipped to answer that question than I, since I’m not sure that those are real satisfying answers.

  54. Bell has already lost my confidence as he was the patron of the bill. I’m interested in the supposed business owners who asked for or lobbied for the ban…

  55. I live in a city that enacted a smoking ban a couple years ago (in Arizona). Other cities nearby have joined in and even more are considering it. It would be so much easier to do it at the state level. It has been a huge success. Smokers grumbled and still do but did not stop going out and many non-smokers now venture to venues they passed up before because of the smoke. It has been a great success here and no businesses went under because of it.
    Why an Arizonian on Waldo’s website. I chanced upon it accidentally about a year ago and am now hooked.

  56. Ah, that was its planned fate. Thanks for that update, Mason.

    A good number of bills were slated to be killed by that subcommittee today. The House Republican leadership realized that there were a number of bills that enjoy overwhelming support that they could kill by steering into the right subcommittee. I understand that there will be rather a harsh rebuke issued by Senate leaders tomorrow as a result. This illustrates everything that’s wrong with this new power of subcommittees to kill bills.

    I hope somebody — media or a blogger — was there to document today’s subcommittee meeting. (Hence my encouragement for bloggers to attend in my original post.)

  57. Yes!!!

    Just heard on the news that the bill was killed. The reason was… “it was excessive against private business”…

  58. “You’ll have a difficult time naming many major, successful businesses out there who were the first to do what they do.”

    DELL COMPUTERS – First company with the ingenious idea of allowing on-line personal add-on computer building. (He actually started the company as PC Limited out of his dorm room)

    FORD – First to use the innovative idea of a model assembly plant for mass production of automobiles

    Nike – First to “brand” an entire shoe company with a single NBA star (Jordan Shoes)

    Domino’s Pizza – Tom Monaghan’s idea to be the first mass producing pizza delivery change. In the UK, Domino’s is the first to allow pizza ordering on-line, to mass success.

    Walt Disney – Disney World – First to fully intergrate a theme park with children’s movies and fantasy characters to mass success.

    Orson Wells – the first filmaker to use expersisonism in lightining and shadow for Citizen Kaine.

    Charles Francis Dolan (HBO) – Cable television pioneer, created the first urban underground cable system, as well as the first network focused exclusively on movies 24 hours a day.

    Boeing – Created the first commecial transport aircraft with pressurized cabins to enable the plane to fly at then unheard of 20,000 feet

    Richard J. Gatling – Created the first successful rapid-repeating firearm.

    I could go on and on, and all of these businesses were the first to do what they did and were successful to do so. Risk aversion is often the death of a business, and while I agree that being the first to do something can also lead to financial ruin, most successful Fortune 500 companies in American today started out with an idea, one that was seen farfetched at the time, and then with innovation and risk became successful.

    I just find it still amazing that you stand by the statement that as a RULE being the first to do anything in business is a mistake. It’s portrays a mindset that is baffling.

  59. Dell didn’t invent the computer, and they didn’t invent the mail-ordering of computers. They made it better. Nike didn’t invent the sneaker, or even improve it — they came up with a better form of marketing it. Domino’s allowing ordering on-line entailed no risk, and invented nothing new. And so on.

    Ford and Gatling are two rare examples of individuals who did something genuinely new and profited handsomely from it. That’s why we remember them. But, to be fair, Gatling was the only real revolutionary between the two — Ford only improved marginally on an existing invention (the car) and an existing process (mass-production, courtesy Eli Whitney).

    But the days of skunkworks are long over. Few businesses put money into R&D. Why? Because it’s better to be a follower than a leader.

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