Pipe tobacco was what my siblings and I gave our father for Christmas year by year. He smoked his pipe every evening while reading after dinner, and when my grandfather was visiting, they would settle down in armchairs side-by-side and smoke together.
My understanding of the health risk is that it is significantly less than cigarette-smoking, because one doesn't inhale very much. Those who smoke a pipe testify that it is incredibly relaxing, and the practice has even been prescribed as a treatment for anxiety disorder.
I can see how the habit might preclude other worse habits from developing, such as overeating, hurrying and worrying. My father lived to the age of 90, but to make a full disclosure, I must say that he stopped smoking a pipe when he was in his 50's. Grandfather (his is the arty pic below) also lived past 90; he stopped when my father stopped, as he no longer had a smoking companion.
That pipe-smoke smell is one of my favorites from long ago, but one that I haven't encountered for many years. Let it here be noted that if any of my sons or grandsons take up the custom, I will start making gifts of tobacco again. This offer doesn't apply to the girls.
I recently discovered a blog honoring Famous Pipe Smokers , hundreds of them, from Clark Gable to Winston Churchill and Oscar Peterson. None of the fascinating photographs of these people pipes-in-mouth is as charming to me as the one of my sister and me on the lap of our dear pipe-smoker. He is not likely to be noted with the celebrities, but he is the most famous to me.