CONSUMPTION OF ARECA NUT WITH OR WITHOUT TOBACCO IN NON-TEACHING STAFF OF A PRIVATE MEDICAL UNIVERSITY IN KARACHI
Areca nut is chewed in many different forms widely all over the world but its consumption is more prevalent in South Asian countries. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of consumption of areca nut with or without tobacco in non- teaching staff of a Private Medical University. A close-ended questionnaire consisting of questions regarding the practice of areca nut chewing was used. Convenience sampling technique was used to collect the data from 139 subjects. Descriptive statistics like mean, standard deviation, frequency and percentage were calculated for the study variables. Mean age of the respondents was 36.2 (SD ±10.6) and the age range was 18 and above. The frequency of using areca nut and products containing areca nut in our study was 50.4 %. The habit of chewing areca nut was more prevalent among Sindhi people followed by Urdu speaking and Punjabis. The reason of chewing areca nut was investigated which revealed that most respondents chewed it because of its taste. Second most common reason reported was its craving, whereas some respondents chewed it due to boredom, others due to stress and some to postpone hunger. Despite having sound knowledge of the adverse effects of chewing areca nut and its products, the habit is still prevailing among the workers in this area. This ignorance could be hazardous for the oral and general health of the workers. There should be more focus on providing counseling services to the individuals who are addicted and habitual chewers of areca nut and maybe implementing a ban on eating areca nut and products in working places.