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Smokeless Tobacco - A Different Challenge

Forms of smokeless tobacco

  • Smokeless tobacco can be consumed orally or nasally. The nasal use is not popular, here a finely ground tobacco is mixed with aromatic substances and sniffed.

Following are the forms of smokeless tobacco:

Paan with tobacco: Consists of variations in preparation with betel leaf, areca nut, slaked lime and catechu, condiments and sweetening agents. Habitual paan chewers have tobacco (either in raw or processed form) added as an essential element in the preparation.  Tobacco is called by different names across the country and the commercially manufactured varieties used in paan are called Zarda or Kiwam.

Paan masala: Is a commercial preparation using areca nut, catechu, slaked lime, condiments and may be with or without tobacco. Paan masala has almost the same preparation as paan but the contents are dehydrated to make the product non- perishable. The paan masala is popular in the urban areas with consumption increasing in rural areas.

Tobacco, areca nut & slaked lime preparations: This combination is chewed in many parts of the country with different names and additional ingredients in it.

Manipuri Tobacco: Used in Manipuri district of Uttar Pradesh. It mainly contains tobacco and slaked lime and finely cut areca nut, camphor and cloves.

Mawa: Contains shavings of areca nut and some addition of tobacco and slaked lime. It is popular in Gujarat and especially amongst youth.

Khaini: Is a mixture of sun dried tobacco and slaked lime; it is widely used in Maharashtra and several states of North India. In Maharashtra and Gujarat it is placed in the lower premolar area in the mandibular groove and Bihar and UP it is placed in the labial sulcus. In Singhbhum state of Bihar it is kept in the dorsum of the tongue.

Chewing Tobacco: Small pieces of raw or commercially available tobacco are used among industrial workers in Ahmedabad and Gujarat.

Snus: Swedish snuff called snus is available in tea bag like pouches that is kept in the buccal or labial groove and sucked. It is marketed in India by Swedish match company by the name of “Click”.

Tobacco Products for Application

Intended primarily for cleaning teeth, the manufacturing companies floated the misconception that tobacco was good for teeth. They do not explicitly market their products as dental care products because the law states that oral care products cannot contain tobacco.

Mishri: Is a roasted, powdered form of tobacco made by baking tobacco on a hot metal plate till it turns uniformly black. Women who used this product initially to clean their teeth, soon start using it several time a day. The product is very common in Maharashtra. Mishri use is also prevalent in Goa.

Gul: Gul is pyrolysed tobacco product. Used as a dentrifice in Eastern part of India, it is marketed under various brand names in small tin cans. The female users of gul were significantly higher than males in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal.

Bajjar:  Is dry snuff, applied on gums and teeth. It is commonly used by women in Gujarat.

Lal Dantamanjan: A red coloured tooth powdered, traditionally contained tobacco. After the law banning the use of tobacco in dental care products, the listing of tobacco as an ingredient was stopped, though testing revealed its presence in Bihar, UP and Uttaranchal.

Gudhaku: Paste made of tobacco and molasses. Can be made by user or commercially. It is used mainly in Orissa, Bihar, UP and Uttaranchal. Used mainly by women. It is applied on the gums and teeth.

Creamy Snuff: It is commonly used in Goa by children. It is packaged in toothpaste like tubes and is claimed to have anti-bacterial properties and good for gums and teeth. Used like a regular toothpaste the user soon becomes addicted to it.

Tobacco Water: Known as Tuibur in Mizoram and Hidakphu in Manipur, it is produced by passing tobacco smoke through water. It is used in Aizwal and Churchandpur districts.