Mumbai : A recent study published by Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) has revealed the harmful effects of the Pan Masala product rather than pure areca nut alone. Following this, it focuses on the urgent need for strong action from the government and also emphasizes on the need for better enforcement of the existing laws with immediate ban on direct and indirect advertising of pan masala.
Pan masala is a mixture of betel nut (supari), lime, catechu (kattha) with various flavouring agents which is being consumed by millions all over India at the cost of Rs 1 or 2.
Pan masala is a mixture of betel nut (supari), lime, catechu (kattha) with various flavouring agents which is being consumed by millions all over India at the cost of Rs 1 or 2. It is estimated by Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2010 that nearly 22 crore Indians who chew tobacco also chew areca nut. The growing market of Pan Masala can be gauged by the intensity of its advertisement on TV and other forms of media. Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi, professor and surgeon at TMH said “Pan Masalas main constituent betel nut has been declared as a Group I carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) since 1985 and all the other constituents are also harmful to the human body. Pan Masala is a mixture of many other ingredients that includes coloring agent and chemicals. The aim of this review was to know the harmful effects of the Pan Masala product rather than pure areca nut alone.”
The study further reveals that pan masala affects almost every part of the human body even without coming in direct contact. Chewers have poor dental hygiene, burning sensation, decreased mouth opening, pre-cancerous spots which have high chance of converting to oral cancer. “It damages kidneys, testes and even causes abnormalities in sperms. Appearance of withdrawal symptoms after 2-3 hours of abstinence in regular users shows the highly addictive nature of pan masala,” added Dr Chaturvedi.