A qualitative study of attitudes to and perceptions of betel quid consumption and its oral health implications in Taiwan

Irene Tamí-Maury*, Wei Fen Ma, Mi Ting Lin, Cheng Chieh Lin, Ming Hsiu Tsai, Chia Ing Li, Tsai Chung Li, Rosetta Krukrubo, Ellen R. Gritz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objectives: Betel quid (BQ) chewing is extremely prominent in South and Southeast Asia because it considered by users to be of social, cultural and religious importance. BQ chewing has been recognized as a risk factor for oral premalignant lesions and oral cancer. Because BQ chewing has become a severe health risk in Taiwan, the development of prevention and cessation programmes is essential. The purpose of this study was to explore the attitudes and perceptions associated with BQ consumption and its oral health implications in an attempt to inform the development of health promotion initiatives and BQ cessation efforts in Taiwan, where the dental profession could have a pivotal role in preventing and controlling BQ use among persons at risk. Methods: This qualitative study used data gathered from focus groups and individual interviews. A convenience sample of 41 adults from Jhushan and Lugu Townships (Nantou County) and Taichung City, Taiwan, participated in this study (27 men, 14 women; 31 Han, 10 aboriginals from the Paiwan tribe; mean age 40.3, SD 9.2 years). Results: Among the seven themes that emerged from the original study, five (Initiation, Health Risk Perception, Health Consequences, Withdrawal Symptoms and Help from Healthcare Providers) had oral/dental implications. Conclusions: Our study highlights research areas relevant to further investigation, such as incorporating brief BQ prevention and cessation counselling when early oral and dental signs associated with BQ consumption are detected. Undertaking behavioural interventions in dental settings might help to reduce the prevalence of BQ chewing in Taiwan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-64
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 02 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • areca
  • betel
  • dental
  • oral cancer
  • prevention


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