Isn't the fingering for a bagpipe chanter the same as the fingering for a tin whistle? If so, the time spent learning to play the whistle wouldn't be wasted if you later take up the bagpipes. And, of course, whistles are much cheaper, quieter, easier, more easily portable, and fit in better with a wide range of other instruments and styles of music.
Terri, if there's any chance at all that your friend will take your advice, I would try to steer him toward the whistle. You could even buy him one. You could tell him that all the great bagpipe players started out on the whistle (which probably isn't true, but it's a forgivable lie, IMHO).