KARACHI: Strong will and determination are the only way to overcome addiction to paan, gutka, supari and other forms of smokeless tobacco, says a study conducted by Aga Khan University (AKU) doctors.
What is smokeless tobacco?
Smokeless tobacco is a product containing tobacco, placed in the mouth or nose but not burned at the time of use. A variety of unprocessed (sun-dried), processed or manufactured products are chewed, sucked or applied to gums and teeth. In Pakistan, 16.3% males and 2.4% females consume these varieties on a regular basis.
The more common forms of smokeless tobacco used by the people in Sindh are chhalia (betel nut) and gutka, said AKU associate professor of medicine, Dr Muhammad Irfan. “Chhalia is an addiction, too,” he pointed out. “It has been established that most of the locally consumed chhalia are of low quality and are often found with fungal infections. They contain artificial colour, artificial sugar, addictive substances and chemicals.” Since they are sold so cheap, the manufacturers use low quality ingredients, he said, adding that prolonged consumption of these products can lead to oral cancer.
Gutka is a more powerful addiction than cigarette, said Dr Khan, adding that it is toxic. Those who chew gutka suffer from mouth cancer and 90% of them die, he said.
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