Kuber: Is it just a mouth freshener?
It is so easy to send our kids to the neighbourhood tuck-shop to purchase loose cigarettes, more so because most tuck-shop minders do not question who the cigarettes are for or more importantly do not refuse to sell them. Although ‘Kuber’ itself is a smokeless tobacco, it is packaged and openly sold as a mouth freshener at only P2.00 per sachet by some shop owners, giving it a harmless representation of its real nature and making it even more accessible to children than cigarettes. The ‘Kuber Group Manufacturing Company’ based in India, where Kuber tobacco is manufactured, takes pride in their products on the principle of “keeping the taste and health of people in mind”. The question is: just how healthy is Kuber tobacco?

Where is it and what does it do?
Kuber has become a widespread phenomena making its way through African borders, onto our streets and ultimately into our classroom corridors. It is a stimulant described by many as a libido-enhancing and mind altering drug. Kuber tobacco has become one of the latest trends among young people today, reaching school grounds and said to have the effect of making students high and stimulated while lowering their inhibitions and making them susceptible to risky behaviours  such as  carefree sex and many other things.
Kuber has now found its way into Botswana and has already made its mark in Mahalapye among street kids, school kids and taxi drivers.

What is Kuber?
Kuber, also known as Khaini, is a smokeless chewing tobacco popular in India which is mainly used in place of cigarettes. However, Kuber contains up to 25% nicotine, making it highly addictive. Health studies show that Kuber contains 28 cancer causing agents and its user takes in three to four times more nicotine than cigarettes. It also contains cannabido and delta 9-tetra cannabidol (THC); which are the primary ingredients in Indian Kemp (marijuana). As a result of these findings Kuber tobacco has been banished from neighbouring countries such as Malawi and Tanzania.

Short Term Effects of Kuber:
Lowered inhibitions

Side effects of Kuber:
Weak teeth
Gum bleeding

Long Term Effects of Kuber:
Discolouration of teeth
Holes on the gum line
Cervical cancer
Mouth and throat cancer

The Danger of Smokeless tobacco
Like any smokeless tobacco, Kuber is highly addictive and can be more harmful than cigarette smoking. Users of smokeless tobacco, such as Kuber, absorb nicotine through the mouth tissues directly into the blood, where it goes into the brain. Even after spitting it out, the nicotine continues to be absorbed into the bloodstream causing it to stay longer in the blood than for smokers.
Whether smokeless or not, tobacco products are very harmful and can cause cancer. While Kuber is rapidly making its mark in Botswana, as parents and teachers, we need to pay close attention to our children and make them aware of this new drug and any other drug circulating out on the streets.

Tobacco use, smokeless or otherwise, is hazardous to your health and expensive. If you or someone you know needs help to quit tobacco, please contact BOSASNet on 7265 9891 or 395 9119 and ask to speak to a counsellor. Our services are strictly confidential.


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