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Smokeless tobacco’ has heavy metals: Sultan Qaboos University

Muscat: 'Afzal', an illegally sold smokeless tobacco product (STP) commonly used by Omani youths, including teenagers, contains heavy metals that may cause health problems, a study conducted by researchers from the Department of Biology at Sultan Qaboos University has revealed.

The findings of this study underscore the need for urgent regulations at the national level to control the illegal sale of this tobacco product, along with the need to launch public health education and awareness campaigns on the health risks associated with the use of 'Afzal'.

The study was conducted by Nawal Al Mukhaini, a PhD student being supervised by Prof. Taher Ba-Omar, and Drs. Elsadig Eltayeb and Aisha Al Shehi from the department of Biology at the College of Science.

The authors reported that smokeless tobacco products have gained popularity in Oman, especially among young people, because of its inexpensive price and easy availability, as well as the lack of awareness about its harmful effects. "'Afzal' is considered to be a snuff tobacco or a type of moist STP, and is illegally sold in Oman despite been prohibited by law.

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