With people turning to Supari after the ban on Gutkha,doctors say that chewing it is as harmful as eating the former
The recent initiative by the Maharashtra Government to impose ban on Gutkha and Pan Masala in the state has lead gutkha addicts to switch to other similar addictions. With the onset of this ban,people are switching to Supari,- also called as Areca Nut or Betel Nut – whether in its plain form or products made of it,it is a potential risk for people consuming it. Here doctors can play a major role in preventing Oral cancer, said Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi from Tata Memorial Hospital at the first certificate course for general practitioners on oral cancer prevention organised by the Muktaa Charitable foundation and Tata Memorial hospital .
The Food Safety and Standards Act makes it compulsory for all packets of Supari and its products to mention a warning which says Chewing of Supari is injurious to health . However,this mandate is not followed by many Supari brands and hence its users are not warned of the fatal dangers, says Dr Alok Lathi,dental surgeon. In the year 2004,International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Areca Nut as a Group I Carcinogenic for humans. This means,chewing of Supari can also cause cancer,even though the contents of supari do not have tobacco or magnesium carbonate added to it.
The habit of chewing of Supari,if it lasts for years,could lead to a series of hazardous effects like,limited mouth opening,altered speech,burning sensation in oral cavity,etc. Direct and repeated contact of supari with the gums,cause them to recede,which in turn results in loosening of teeth. Increase in mouth ulcers is also caused by betel nut chewing. These symptoms have no effective remedy and have horrifying consequences such as oral cancer.
Meanwhile,at the function organised to conduct the first certificate course,Dr Nitin Abhyankar addressed the issue of doctors’ role in tobacco and alcohol de-addiction. Dr Shona Nag chaired the session and inaugurated books by Dr Alok Lathi and Mr Shridhar Lokhande. Dr Prakash Mahajan conducted the panel discussion. Dr Madhu Oswal,founder Muktaa Charitable Foundation said that similar programs will be conducted all over Pune so as to train at least 1000 doctors this year. Dr Rupa Agarwal gave the vote of thanks.