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Nasvai (sometimes referred to as naswar or nass) is a smokeless tobacco product used in central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. It is prepared by mixing locally grown tobacco with slaked lime or alkaline tree ash, and adding various combinations of flavouring and colouring ingredients. Nasvai can be produced in cottage industry settings or be custom made, and is sold either prepackaged in small containers or in bulk. While data on the prevalence of nasvai use in central Asian countries are scarce, the existing reports indicate that it may exceed that of smoking: 22.3% of adult men in Uzbekistan and 40% of rural adult men in Tajikistan reported using nasvai, while smoking prevalence estimates in the same populations were 19.6% and 8.7%, respectively.1 ,2 The largely unregulated production and accessibility of nasvai suggest that actual consumption may be even greater.
Consistent with the evidence that certain types of smokeless tobacco increase risk of oral cancer, including tobacco with lime in South Asia, the few published studies suggest that the use of nasvai may increase the risk of precancerous oral lesions and oral cancer.3–5 Analysis of toxic and …
Contributors IS participated in the development of study concept, analysed data, drafted and revised the manuscript and approved the final version for publication. JA contributed to interpretation of data and preparation of the manuscript. VJ contributed to chemical and data analyses. KW contributed to preparation of the manuscript. DLK participated in the development of study concept, manuscript revision and approved the final version for publication.
Funding This work was supported by start-up funds to IS from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, via NCI grant P30 CA077598 and support from Minnesota Masonic Charities, and by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.