While statistics seem to show the number of cigarette smokers has been shrinking in recent years, don’t celebrate just yet — because while people may be smoking fewer cigarettes, a growing number have become pipe and cigar aficionados.

A new CDC report shows that while overall consumption of smoked tobacco products went down almost 28 percent between 2000 and 2011, the use of non-cigarette smoked tobacco products increased by a staggering 123 percent during that same time period.

Seems that although raising the price of cigarettes — a common tactic by anti-smoking groups to reduce the number of people who smoke — has resulted in a decline in sales, the unintended consequence is that people have turned to lower-priced products like pipe tobacco, loose tobacco and cigars.

“The rise in cigar smoking, which other studies show is a growing problem among youth and young adults, is cause for alarm,” said Tim McAfee, director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, adding that since nearly all smokers start before their 26th birthday, making sure young consumers never pick up the habit is key to stopping the smoking epidemic.

[Reuters]