Betel quid (BQ) chewing in children is initiated in their adolescence. It is pivotal to understand adolescents’ reasons behind chewing BQ. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the reasons for BQ chewing amongst adolescents using reasons for betel quid chewing scale (RBCS) and their associated dependency on it.
This is a cross-sectional school based survey. Out of 2200 adolescents from 26 schools of Karachi, 874 BQ chewers were assessed for their reasons of BQ chewing and dependency on it. Regression analyses were employed to report crude and adjusted (after adjusting for all reasons of BQ chewing) effect sizes with 95% confidence interval and P-value was set significant at < 0.05.
Students who believed that BQ chewing relaxes them (stimulation construct) were twice as likely to be dependent on BQ (OR = 2.36, 95% CI (1.20–4.65) as compared with others. Participants who thought it eases their decision making (stimulation construct), were sizably more likely to be dependent on BQ (OR = 9.65, 95% CI (4.15–22.43) than those who did not consider ease in decision making important. Adolescents who considered not chewing as rude (social/cultural construct), were thrice more likely to be dependent on BQ (OR = 2.50, 95% CI (1.11–5.63) than others.
Stimulation remained fundamental chewing reason followed by social/cultural trigger amongst adolescents. Any future intervention may get favorable results if it addresses ways to overcome stimulation and social/cultural barriers that are strongly associated with BQ chewing and dependency.