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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Predictors of betel quid chewing behavior and cessation patterns in Taiwan aborigines

Chin-Feng Lin123, Jung-Der Wang1, Ping-Ho Chen4, Shun-Jen Chang5, Yi-Hsin Yang67 and Ying-Chin Ko45*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University, College of Public Health and Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Department of Health, Executive Yuan, Taiwan

3 Department of Public Health, Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan

4 Division of Environmental Health and Occupational Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan

5 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

6 Graduate Institute of Oral Health Sciences, College of Dental Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

7 Statistical Analysis Laboratory, Department of Clinical Research, Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital, Taiwan

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:271  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-271

Published: 3 November 2006



Betel quid, chewed by about 600 million people worldwide, is one of the most widely used addictive substances. Cessation factors in betel quid chewers are unknown. The present study explores prevalence and the quit rate of betel quid chewing in Taiwan aborigines. Our goal was to delineate potential predictors of chewing cessation.


A stratified random community-based survey was designed for the entire aborigines communities in Taiwan. A total of 7144 participants were included between June 2003 and May 2004 in this study. Information on sociodemographic characteristics, such as gender, age, obesity, education years, marital status, ethnicity, and habits of betel quid chewing, smoking and drinking was collected by trained interviewers.


The prevalence of betel quid chewers was 46.1%. Betel quid chewing was closely associated with obesity (OR = 1.61; 95% CI: 1.40–1.85). Betel quid chewers were most likely to use alcohol and cigarettes together. Quit rate of betel quid chewers was 7.6%. Betel quid chewers who did not drink alcohol were more likely to quit (OR = 1.89; 95% CI: 1.43–2.50). Alcohol use is a significant factor related to cessation of betel quid chewing, but smoking is not.


Taiwan aborigines have a high prevalence of betel quid chewers and a low quit rate. Alcohol use is strongly association with betel quid chewing. Efforts to reduce habitual alcohol consumption might be of benefit in cessation of betel quid chewing.