The difference is that Carbon Monoxide poisoning doesn't have as many long term issues as tobacco smoke inhalation does. I do agree that it's overboard in some cases with it being outdoors (the golf course being one place), but that's like comparing drowning to smoking a cigar. The carbon monoxide displaces oxygen that is needed, but does not cause cancer. Breathing in levels of carbon monoxide similar to that of working in a mechanic's garage for years will give you some heart problems, but this is because it has to work harder to supply the necessary oxygen compared to someone out in the open air where the carbon monoxide can be dispersed.
On a golf course I don't mind if people smoke, but I have to stay upwind of them due to asthma concerns. Breathing the smoke for more than brief periods throughout a round usually causes a reaction resulting in me coughing uncontrollably. Not only is it detrimental to my golf game to be exposed to tobacco smoke for extended period of time, but it's just plain not fun. I don't mind though as long as people are considerate enough to do it downwind of me.
The long and short of it is that tobacco smoke causes cancer as opposed to "dry drowning" someone. The causes of death are very different, and it's not a great comparison.
I appreciate the fact that your sensitivity to smoke can cause you to cough and have discomfort and would hope that any smoker would have the courtesy to keep their distance when smoking. I do understand the difference between carbon monoxide poisoning and the long term effects of smoking that could cause cancer but was trying to make the point that the amount of smoke inhaled by an occasional whiff of tobacco smoke is not likely to cause harm, yet many people live in areas where auto pollution is rampant but freak out if they smell a cigarette.
My understanding is that combustible engine exhaust includes the following (copied from another website):
Colorless, odorless, tasteless, yet highly toxic. Automobile and industrial emissions may also contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming. It occurs naturally in our atmosphere at around 0.1 parts per million, but car exhaust without a catalytic converter contains 7,000 parts per million.
Toxic by inhalation and can cause adverse health effects at low levels over a long period. It can contribute to acid rain and oxygen depletion of plant life in coastal waters.
Can cause pulmonary and respiratory distress and acidification of waterways.
This is basically soot - it's most apparent effect is reducing visibility. It impacts on breathing and respiratory systems, damages lung tissues and causes cancer. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people and animals die prematurely each year due to the health effects of inhaling particulate matter.
A carcinogen to humans, benzene is also very toxic to aquatic life and can cause death in plants. It is a "precursor" component for formation of photochemical smog.
Another known carcinogen to humans, with similar effects to many animals and birds. In an aquatic environment, formaldehyde has a half-life of between a day and ten days.
One of the most widespread organic pollutants, they are formed by incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that some polycyclic hydrocarbons may be carcinogens to humans and animals and can cause harmful effects of the skin and the immune system.
Some recent studies have also found car exhaust can create hydrocarbon-based free radicals which can linger indefinitely. These free radicals are believed to cause lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Even with the use of catalytic converters to help break down pollutants that cause smog, exhaust may be creating conditions for these free radicals to form.
Now I smoked cigarettes for 35 years and it may wind up killing me. I have not had a cigarette in over 9 years but will smoke 5-6 cigars per week. I know it is harmful and understand the effects of second hand smoke in enclosed areas. But in open outside areas such as golf courses or Central Park I believe it can be irritating or annoying so common courtesy should be used, but the health impact does not come near the danger of some of the polluted environments we live in (e.g. the streets of Manhattan).