Harmful and health hazards of pan masala, chewing smokeless tobacoo and Gutka health issues

March 25th, 2011 by Dr. Subba Rao | Posted under General.

A study carried by national institute of public health revealed that 86 percent of the world’s oral cancer occurs in India and 90 percent of those cancers are passed due to chewing tobacco.Also 24 percent of school going children were already addicted to chewing tobacco.Pan masala is a dried powdered mixture containing ingredients like areca nut, catechu, lime and flavouring agents.The frequency of habits of Pan Masala chewing, by school children in lower socio-economic areas is extremely high. The probable reasons for this high frequency are taste, the widespread use of these substances by family members and friends, low cost and easy availability. similarly Gutka is mostly sold in the country in plastic packets and costs as little as one rupee a sachet.

health hazards of pan masala
Regular pan chewing causes the lips and tongue to be stained red, and reduces the incidence of cavities.Pan with and without tobacco increased oral cancer risk by 9.9 and 8.4 times respectively and is carcinogenic. Pan masala contain water soluble direct acting mutagens.Long-term use of pan masala and gutka has been associated with oral submucosal fibrosis (OSF), pre-cancerous oral lesions and squamous cell carcinoma.There may be a higher risk of cancers of the liver, mouth, esophagus, stomach, prostate, cervix, and lung with regular betel use. Other effects can include a possible effect on blood sugar levels, possibly increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Scientific studies have found that both gutka and pan masala contain tumor causing agents. The products contribute to making India the “mouth cancer capital of the world”  Thankfully  the supreme court banned the sale of tobacco products in plastic wrappers from march 1st  ,citing harm to public health and environmental damage from improper disposal of the packets.The court’s order may help discourage the use of gutka by making it more expensive as manufactures will be forced to seek alternative ways of packing.

[image courtesy : studyhealth]

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Tags: chewing smokeless tobacoo and Gutka health issues, Harmful and health hazards of pan masala

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