Doctor: Betel nut chewing a health risk

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A DOCTOR says the chewing of betel nut must be banned to stop the community transmission of the Covid-19.
Dr Uma Ambi, the director of the Directorate of Social Change and Mental Health, said people must change their attitude and behaviour in this regard.
“Maintaining good personal hygiene is important during this Covid-19 period and the chewing of betel nut violates every hygiene rule,” he said.
“Minimise the bad habits immediately to not only save yourself but your family and the nation.
“We have to shift our attitude and together we can make a big difference by the regular washing of hands, wearing of masks, social distancing and concentrating on personal hygiene.”
She said a person would chew betel nut, spit it out in the open, then clean the mouth with the hand, and without sanitising the hand touch an object or a person which increased the spreading of the virus.
“Chewing betel nut and spitting are not healthy.”
She said chewers had to wash their hands immediately after a chewing session and to stop spitting.
She said it was normal to feel sad, confused, scared and angry at this time. “This are normal reactions to an abnormal event,” she said.
“People should not try to use the bad habits of chewing, smoking and drinking alcohol to try to deal with these emotions.
“It will not help you overcome it but can only increase your risk of getting the Covid-19.”
Ambi urged people to text or call the mental health hotline (7907 4944) for help.


  • So called educated illiterates of the information on buai chewing can be one source of contraction of the COVID 19, think otherwise. They say buai prevents them from contracting corona virus. Could this be educate the educated illiterate on buai can contribute to contraction of COVID 19?

  • Be responsible chewers, use some commonsence, attitude towards the selling ,buying and chewing have to be treated with better hygiene practices. This is new normal! Citizens to take it seriously or else we should completely do away with betelnut chewing.

  • Let them chew. Buia sellers and chewers as well as smoker don’t care about their own health and the health of others. Let them face the the virus, because buai protects them from corona virus….

  • To my points of view we people from the coastal region of Papua New Guinea our grand parents have been chewing Beatlenuts from long generation til now the White man landed in our country I don’t believe you doctor you have to go and study more in this regard.

    • So what do you want to proof? Is corona virus not that serious… stop nonsense… go back and educate your flocks.

  • We coastal people have been chewing betelnut since before white men came, hence it is going to be a bit difficult thing to stop. But the advice given by the good doctor is correct, hence I think it’s best that betelnut chewers who buy betelnut should not chew it in public places, we should bring it home and chew it home and dispose of our rubbish responsibly.

  • Stronger men and women the ones that have strong healthy habits. Weak men and women the ones that resort to bad habits they don’t keep calm and persistent with emotions.

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