The ethics of betel nut use in Taiwan are examined in this article. It first presents scientific facts about the betel quid, its consumption and negative health consequences and then analyses the cultural background and economic factors contributing to its popularity in Asia. Governmental and institutional attempts to curb betel nut cultivation, distribution and sales are also described. Finally, the bioethical implications of this often ignored subject are considered.
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Contributors GS was responsible for the empirical and medical aspects of betel nut. ES researched the socioeconomic and governmental response. MC-tT reviewed the situation in Taiwan and advised on the ethical analysis. JT is the main author who conceived the idea for the paper, coordinated all the efforts and submitted the paper in its present form.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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