Developing a Betel Quid Cessation Program on the Island of Guam

Pac Asia Inq. Fall 2015;6(1):144-150.


Betel quid is a psychoactive drug preparation typically made up of a combination of areca quid, slaked lime, piper betel leaf and tobacco. It is the fourth most commonly consumed drug in the world with global use concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region (Boucher and Mannan, 2002; Warnakulasuriya and Peters, 2002). The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified betel quid as a Group 1 carcinogen (IARC, 2004; Lin et al., 2006), and its use has been associated with oral and oropharyngeal cancer, oral lesions, oral leukoplakia, submucous fibrosis, gum disease, and cancer of the pharynx and esophagus (IARC, 2004; Oakley et al., 2005; Shah et al., 2002; Warnakulasuriya, 2002). This paper reports on the feasibility of an innovative betel quid cessation program carried on the U.S. territory of Guam, and is the first of its kind. The program is described, along with the challenges encountered during the implementation process.