Congratulations. Nicotine addiction is pretty sucky. Pretty much the key to being miserable and penniless. My mom and my grandma (who raised me) have smoked all my life and continue to do so. They've tried quitting a several times, and were even successful for periods of time until the habit took over in times of stress and they got back to it. My uncles, aunts, grandparents, a lot of my cousins, etc... all smoked cigarettes as well. Honestly, I only know of three or four of my family members (and that includes extended family) who aren't addicted to cigarettes. So, all my life, up until this point, I've avoided cigarettes and other potentially addiction-forming/mind-altering substances all my life up until this point.
It's hard to put into words what makes pipe smoking attractive to me. Of course, there's the easy reasons such as figures in literature or film who smoked pipes. For some it's because of Sherlock Holmes, for others it's because their grandparents or parents did it and they have fond memories of it, for some it's because of the Lord of the Rings. Personally, I'm in the LOTR crowd and part of the reason I picked it up was because I fell in love with the idea of smoking a Churchwarden style pipe, mostly because of the films.
Of course, that's just what sparked my initial interest. That interest has sat in the back of my mind for quite some time and recently it got a bit of air when I started to discover videos on youtube where people smoked pipes and discussed the hobby. That's what a majority of pipe smokers consider it, a relaxing hobby. That idea intrigued me, and the image of me sitting in a comfy chair with a pipe in one hand and a book in another began to take form. Before I committed, however, I began to research.
I continued to watch hours of videos of people discussing their experiences smoking, how to smoke, how to pack a bowl, how to clean pipes, what the different types of pipes and bowl shapes were called and how it could effect the smoking experience. I was introduced to forums like pipemagazine and knowledge databses like pipedia. I began to learn about the different types of tobaccos, and all the other stuff related to the hobby.
For several days I thought about it and researched it. The fact that it seemed to be a relaxing hobby that everyone I talked to considered a good thing about themselves intrigued me. When I talk to my family and other smokers, they all regret and dread their stupid decision to begin smoking. A majority of them even hate the smoking part of it and only do it because they need their nicotine fix. To me, it seemed like people who smoked were in a living hell that they couldn't escape without some extreme soul searching a massive life changes.
But the pipe smokers (and cigar smokers) seemed quite content and even proud of their smoking. They talked about amazing flavors, fond memories, relaxing nights by a camp fire, and never once hinted that they regretted their choice to smoke a pipe. I continued to look into it and it seemed like everyone I could find wasn't even addicted to it. Sure they got a fix of nicotine from the smoke, but it wasn't for that reason they smoked. A lot of them even mentioned that they would go days or weeks without a smoke just because they weren't in the mood. Some would stop smoking whenever they got sick because it just wasn't fun when your nose is stuffy and your body feels like crap.
As far as I could tell from my research, smoking pipes (and cigars) isn't quite as bad (but any type of smoking, no matter what it is, isn't good for your physical health directly) as cigarette smoking. The largest reason is because pipe smoke isn't inhaled like you would with a cigarette. Rather you just puff and let it out, enjoying the flavors of whatever blend you happen to be smoking. As far as I can tell, that's part of the reason that addiction doesn't seem to be an issue for pipe smokers. The other part is, I think, mostly psychological.
When someone smokes cigarettes, they're almost immediately in the mind set that it's a bad thing to do and it's something they do because it's a habit and they need their nicotine fix. When someone is smoking a pipe, they are thinking they're doing it for relaxation and enjoyment and they're doing something classy that they can be proud of and share. I feel that the mindsets behind the two (or three if you consider cigars) of smoking tobacco is something that makes a big difference in the end. Studies have also shown that the stress-relieving benefits of smoking a pipe as a hobby can, in some ways, outweigh the negatives. Supposedly, according to some studies, pipe smokers live an average of 2 years longer than non-smokers (that is people that do not smoke at all).
As for the expenses part. It's actually a fairly cheap hobby. Like most hobbies, you can invest as little or as much as you want. Most of your expenses will probably come from pipe purchases. You can buy estate pipes in bulk for decent sums ($30-90 USD), or hand-made pipes for anywhere from $20 to $200. You can go for cheap basket pipes that will cost as little as $2. It's usually suggested to have several pipes if you plan to smoke more than once a day, as it's popular to keep a "rotation" to allow pipes to "rest" (honestly, I don't believe that a pipe needs to rest for 24 or 48 hours or whatever other nonsense people tend to believe... of course maybe I'll be proven wrong with experience.)
For me, that's also part of the appeal. I like the idea of collecting. From my research, I've found that Churchwardens are honestly my favorite type of pipe for aesthetics. It looks like something out of a fantasy book, the longer stem is supposed to provide a cooler, smoother draw of smoke which will allow for better flavor, and they're pretty rare within the already rare pipe-smoking world. After that, I've been eying pipes with the Dublin bowl type. I will probably go for one of those as my second pipe in my collection, although I may buy a higher quality Churchwarden instead.
As for the tobacco, it's so much cheaper than cigarettes that I was actually quite pissed that my family went with cigarettes for nicotine rather than pipe smoking. Even if they puffed away on a pipe all day, non-stop, their health wouldn't be at so much risk as if they smoked a few cigarettes a day. And their pockets wouldn't have been so empty constantly, either. You can buy 5oz of almost any blend, type or quality of pipe tobacco online for like $10-15. That's enough to last you several weeks if you plan to smoke frequently, longer if you're the type for just a bowl or two at night while reading or after dinner to relax.