A Scientific and Socioecononic Review of Betel Nut Use in Taiwan with Bioethical Reflections

Asian Bioethics Review 9 (4):401-414 (2017)
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This article addresses the ethics of betel nut use in Taiwan. It first presents scientific facts about the betel quid and its consumption and the generally accepted negative health consequences associated with its use: oral and esophageal cancer, coronary artery disease, metabolic diseases, and adverse effects in pregnancy. It then analyzes the cultural background and economic factors contributing to its popularity in Asia. The governmental and institutional attempts to curb betel nut cultivation, distribution, and sales are also described. Finally, the article analyzes the bioethical implications of this often-ignored subject from the perspectives of human dignity, the good of health, vulnerable groups, cultural diversity, informed consent, and ethical blind spots.
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