26 May 2010

Palau's health minister takes a stand against betelnut chewing

8:35 am on 26 May 2010

Palau's health minister says taking a stand by banning betelnut chewing on ministry premises is in the best interests of people's health and the environment.

Dr Stevenson Kuartei says chewing betelnut, often combined with tobacco use, leads to oral and many other types of cancer, and chronic illnesses like hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

He says not only is there often a huge cost to one's health but cleaning up spit left by betelnut chewers is also proving costly.

"Any kind of hygienic hazards and also the spitting on the ground and spitting on the premises and in trash cans - it's a big issue for us. It also leads to expenses."

Dr Kuartei says there has been too much talk, so the Ministry is now taking the lead and hopes to start the chew free ban on July the 1st.