LAHORE: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) on Saturday warned chhalia (betel nut) dealers and traders to shut their business down by April 31, otherwise a strict action would be taken against them.
The PFA has decided to ban betel nut on the recommendations of its scientific panel.
The panel, in its recommendation, warned the people not to use chhalia – that is the main reason for mouth, throat and stomach cancers.
Chhalia is a basic ingredient of a variety of widely used chewing products. Thin slices of the nut, either natural or processed, are be mixed with a variety of substances including slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) and spices such as cardamom, coconut and saffron.
Most significantly, they are mixed with tobacco products or wrapped in the leaf of the piper betel plant (paan).
It is used by an estimated number of 200-400 million people, mainly Indo-Asians and the Chinese.