Hookah at health centre cause for concern

A municipally subsidised sport centre's decision to offer water pipe smoking to guests is scandalous, says Cancer Society

On one hand, the Copenhagen municipality pumps millions into anti-smoking initiatives, but on the other, it introduces residents to the harmful hookah, also known as a water pipe, criticises the Danish Cancer Society.

DGI-byen, a sports and recreation centre, receives DKK 15 million from the municipality on an annual basis.

Recently the centre has begun offering Turkish-themed sauna nights where guests are encourages to relax by smoking a hookah, also known as a water pipe, following a trip in the sauna with aromatherapy oils.

It is a scandalous practice, said Dr Hans Storm, head of the Cancer Society to public service broadcaster DR. He said it gives hookah smoking a seal of approval as it is being offered by a sports centre with which people associate health and wellness.

Hookah smoking has been found to equal smoking 20 cigarettes, posing health risks to those who indulge. Studies have found hookah smoking also increases incidents of cancer, particularly cancer of the lips. Lung cancer, bronchitis and decreased lung function have also been associated with the practice.

The sports centre has acknowledged that the pipes send an unfortunate signal and has said they will consider removing hookah smoking from the Turkish sauna programme.

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