May 12th 2009 12:25AM To second what dyt1983 said, corn cob pipes are much better for the money than many briars under $50 or so. They aren't as disposable as you may think - in fact, they can and do last a long time. For someone exploring the hobby of pipe smoking, they are an excellent choice and I keep several around for testing heavily flavored tobaccos or a change of pace from my briars and meerschaums. Some tobacco types actually taste better in a cob, burleys being one of them.
Aside from the cost-effectiveness of pipe smoking, another huge advantage is the endless varieties of blends out there. I review pipe tobaccos ( http://smokingpipetobacco.com ) and am crazy about trying new blends, but I feel like I've only skimmed the surface in my fifteen years of pipe smoking. Some collect pipes, I collect tobaccos...sort of.
Where pipe smoking falls short for so many is the learning curve. I give advice daily and am very familiar with all the difficulties someone new to the hobby will face. Not many persist patiently long enough to plumb the depths of what pipe smoking offers and reach "nirvana," but those of us who have are grateful each bowlful we did.