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Areca nut and tobacco use among school children in a village in South India – A cross sectional study

Author(s): Nitin Joseph

Journal: Australasian Medical Journal
ISSN 1836-1935

Volume: 3;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 299;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Areca nut | tobacco | South India | India

Arecanut chewing is considered a benign and socially acceptable habit by many Indians. Its chronic use contributes significantly to the high incidence of oral and oropharyngeal cancer in India. Apart from the carcinogenic potential, arecanut has been shown to be addictive and development of typical dependence symptoms associated with its usage has been described. Tobacco along with arecanut, slaked lime, catechu and condiments makes gutka. Aggressive advertising and marketing of gutka in small attractive and inexpensive sachets since early 1980s has greatly enhanced the sales of these products. This cross sectional study involved 392 children from a village in Southern India. The prevalence of areca nut usage among boys and girls was 27.3% and 6.1% and 2.4% for gutka. About 3/4th of the participants were unware of associated health hazards or thought these substances to be harmless.
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