Gutkha can well be defined as a devil in disguise. Promoted as a mouth freshener, this betel nuts and tobacco preparation is designed to release a chemical reaction that makes it an addictive proposition. However, most consumers believe that the blended spices and seasonings do not make it as a harmful product!
But, the truth remains that gutkha; just as any other tobacco product is very addictive and injurious to health. Gutkha has been proved to be carcinogenic,
The Effects if Gutkha
- Gutkha leads to Oral sub-mucous fibrosis (SMF), a pre-cancerous disease that is a first step to cancer. This has increased 20 to 30 times across the country. It also leads to throat, esophageal cancers.
- Oral cancers, predominantly squamous cell carcinomas of the lip, mouth, tongue, and pharynx
- Loss of appetite
- Promote unusual sleep patterns
- Loss of concentration
- One study found that pregnant women in India who used gutka had a threefold increased risk of having a low birth weight infant.
The extensive marketing of gutkha has led to a widespread addiction amongst school children.
According to a survey conducted in 2008, 5 million children under the age of 15 years are addicted to gutkha.
Another survey conducted in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh highlighted that the precursor of mouth cancers was shown in 16 percent of the children.
The number can get more shocking. The only way to stop the consumption is by educating the masses. Also, one must understand that it needs equal persuasion, guidance and support to help someone quit this habit. It’s not only the numbers that is disturbing, but also the fact that most gutkha users are unaware of the fact it is an addictive and harmful habit.
The list of shocking details doesn’t stop here. So far, ghutka is largely ignored, and there is no regulated body in India that works against the consumption of this deadly mouth freshener. So, till the time we have proper regulations in place, let’s as individuals try and help eradicate this habit. Let us use the power we so proudly hold, education!
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