Cessation of Betel Quid Chewing: Lessons from the ex-chewers
Introduction: The practice of chewing of betel quid is deep-rooted age-old traditions of most Asian countries including Bhutan. Health is an integral part of happy living and healthcare providers are generally looked up to as role models for healthier living. This paper focuses on the prevalence of ex-betel quid chewers and correlates of successful cessation of betel quid chewing among
healthcare professionals in Thimphu, Bhutan.
Methods: Data for this study was collected from six healthcare centres within Thimphu, during June – July 2016, using self-administered questionnaire. 478 questionnaires were handed over to the healthcare professionals, and 391 (82%) were returned. Statistical analysis was performed using statistical package for social science version 21.0.
Results: The prevalence of ex-betel quid chewers was 16.9%. More than half (51.5%) of the ex-chewers discontinued chewing betel quid because of fear of the ill effects of chewing it. About 29% gave up chewing betel quid because of healthrelated problems. Betel quid chewing was first sourced either with a friend or a parent (59.1%, 24.2% respectively). Number of family members chewing betel quid, smoking and drinking status were significantly associated with quitting of betel quid chewing.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that family and health risk behaviours such as drinking and smoking were significant correlates of quitting betel quid chewing. Hence, effective public health awareness could be targeted to both individual and their family members to enable them to quit betel quid chewing.
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