HEALTH Minister Michael Malabag supports National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop in banning the sale and chewing of betel nut in Port Moresby.
“Betel nut chewing has direct health implications on chewers and poses an environmental hazard caused by its waste disposed by users,” he said.
“Betel nut chewing is associated with mouth cancer and it concerns me to say that PNG has got the highest incidence of mouth cancer in the world.
“At this moment, the health system does not have cancer treatment specialists and equipment thus we can prevent ourselves from developing cancer by putting an end to betel nut consumption.
“We have also noticed an increase in the number of children chewing betel nut which increases the risk of them developing cancer as early as 25 years.
“Betel nut chewing also affects the immune system of the body and puts the chewer at risk of contracting chronic diseases.
“When the person’s immune system is weak due to prolonged chewing of betel nut, tuberculosis or other diseases can kill the person within a short period of time.
“Environmental hygiene is also important as unhygienic conditions can stimulate disease outbreak such as malaria.”
- The National, Oct 8, 2013