Prevalence of oral white lesions due to qat chewing among women in Yemen

Oral Dis. 2014 Oct;20(7):675-81. doi: 10.1111/odi.12188. Epub 2013 Oct 24.


Objectives: To investigate oral mucosal white lesions due to qat chewing among Yemeni women and their possible confounders (tobacco, water-pipe).

Patients and methods: In a cross-sectional hospital study, 162 healthy women were divided into 109 qat chewers and 53 non-qat chewers. Inclusion criteria were as follows: ≥20 years of age, chewing qat habitually ≥5 years on one side. Women were interviewed about tobacco/water-pipe use and examined for oral mucosal lesions.

Results: Among chewers, white lesions were recorded in 82/109 (75.2%) at the chewing site. Lesions on the opposite side were recorded among 6/109 (5.5%) and among 7/53 (13.2%) non-chewers. Lesions reported among chewers were correlated with the side of chewing and with longer duration of the habit. The difference in the prevalence of white lesions present between cases and controls was significant (P < 0.000). When white lesions were correlated with the durations of chewing and water-pipe and cigarette smoking, results in terms of chewing were highly significant (P = 0.000) and those in terms of water-pipe smoking and cigarette smoking were not significant.

Conclusion: Habitual chewing of qat fibres by Yemeni women over decades caused mucosal white lesions recorded on the chewing side irrespective of additional noxae as tobacco and water-pipe smoking.

Keywords: Yemen; buccal mucosa; habit; oral white lesions; qat.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Catha*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastication
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Mouth Diseases / etiology*
  • Mouth Diseases / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Yemen / epidemiology
  • Young Adult