Pipe smoking is becoming increasingly popular among young people, ABC News reports. International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association spokesman Jeff Moran says there has been a slight upsurge after decades of declining sales in pipes and pipe tobacco.
Pipes are shedding their stodgy image, and are now attracting the same young adults who consume specialized coffees, artisanal cheese and microbrew beers, the article notes. Moran says new smokers are using high-end tobacco. “It’s much like when certain people got into wines. They didn’t start with screw tops and box wines. They seemed to get right into the more sophisticated wines,” he said.
Pat Callahan of Jon’s Pipe Shop in Champagne, Illinois, agreed. “Our customers aren’t interested in Bud Light,” he said.
In 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the use of combustible tobacco—cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, and cigars—declined by 27.5 percent in the United States between 2000 and 2011. During that time, pipe tobacco consumption rose 482 percent.
“The data suggest that certain smokers have switched from cigarettes to other combustible tobacco products, most notably since a 2009 increase in the federal tobacco excise tax that created tax disparities between product types,” the authors wrote.
The CDC notes smoke from pipes and cigars contains the same toxic chemicals as cigarette smoke. “The evidence that the increase in cigar and pipe tobacco use is the result of offering cigarette smokers a low-priced alternative product is a particular public health concern, because the morbidity and mortality effects of other forms of combustible tobacco are similar to those of cigarettes,” they concluded.