[Assam] Asia's Deadly Secret: the Scourge of the Betel Nut

bhuban.baruah bbaruah at aol.com
Sun Mar 22 05:25:11 PDT 2015

Dear Friends

It is a BBC 'health' article. I just came to know that India too has started a campaign against
our deep-rooted culture of chewing betel nuts. I reproduce the shortened  article below:

"It is used by almost a tenth of the world's population. It gives people a buzz equivalent to six cups of coffee and is used variously as a symbol of love, marriage and a cure for indigestion and impotence.
But it is also leading tens of thousands to an early grave.
The culprit? The humble betel nut.
Found across Asia, these nuts are harvested from the Areca palm and are chewed for their warming glow and stimulating properties.
Such is its effectiveness, that alongside nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, betel nuts are believed to be one of the most popular mind-altering substances in the world.
Although used by women and children, the nuts are especially popular among working-age men, who chew to stay awake through long hours of driving, fishing or working on construction sites.
But the short-lived benefits come at a terrible cost.
High rates of oral cancer are destroying the lives of many who buy betel nuts, often decades after their first taste.
Now in Taiwan, where the nuts are affectionately known as 'Taiwan's chewing gum', the government is taking action to curb this centuries-old habit and reduce the thousands of lives lost each year.
Dangerous combination
The betel nut is a key part of many Asian cultures and can be consumed dried, fresh or wrapped up in a package known as a quid.

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