Honiara : 14 May 2017
Letter to the Editors, Solomon Star and Island Sun Newspapers.
In the Solomon Islands chewing betel nut has a long history reaching back centuries, and these days betel nut is being cultivated commercially to supplement incomes
I have been alarmed, however, that many young people are chewing betel nuts without perhaps knowing the health risks.
The WHO has classified betel nut as a carcinogen and initiated an action plan to reduce its use.
Modern research shows many health risks associated with the practice of chewing betel nut, including cancer of the mouth and esophagus, oral submucous fibrosis, and tooth decay.
Taiwan has declared an annual “Betel Nut Prevention Day.” City officials in Taipei now fine anyone seen spitting betel nut juice and require them to attend withdrawal classes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider betel nut safe for chewing or eating and has placed the nut on its Poisonous Plants Database.
Health organizations and governments around the globe are taking increasing steps to increase awareness of betel nut risks but I am not aware whether the MOHMS warns on the chewing of betel nut despite the health risks being well documented by the WHO.