Australian researchers note the immense cost to society of smoking compared to illegal drugs...
The report, produced for the federal government's national drug strategy, estimates that tobacco accounted for 61.2% of the costs to society of drugs...For the first time the cost calculations included an estimate of the impact of passive smoking and newly available data to assess the effect on the Australian population of absenteeism, drugs, ambulances, fires, crime, and even litter. Alcohol accounted for 22% of total costs...and illegal drugs for 17%...Tangible costs included hospital care, road crashes, loss of productivity and tax revenue, and increased crime and policing. The intangible costs included pain and suffering.
from the British Medical Journal February 1, 2003
...while a bar patron in Ireland puts the often-exaggerated risks from secondhand smoke in perspective:
You've a far greater risk of being run down in the road outside than dying from Brendy's cigarette here...What will they do next ban the drink from the pub because the alcohol's no good for you?...None of us would ever get to heaven if we didn't die.
Comment from irate Dublin pub-goer Jim Doris, reported in the Associated Press story "Ireland to Ban Smoking in Pubs"