Author(s): Finau SA, Stanhope JM, Prior IA
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Abstract The prevalence of kava (Piper methysticum), alcohol and tobacco consumption in Nuku'alofa (urban) and Foa (rural) are described. Current kava consumption was males 48\% and females 1\%. Prevalence was significantly higher among rural males. Current alcohol consumption was almost exclusive to the urban population and predominantly male, but only 2 (1\%) rural males were current alcohol consumers. 169 (84.0\%) of the rural males were irregularly or had ceased consuming alcohol. Tobacco consumption also showed a significant male predominance. There was a significantly higher total tobacco consumption in the urban population. Concordance of the three habits was evident among males with 27 concordant positive (expected = 5.98) and 46 concordant negative (expected = 6.60). It appears that kava, a traditional Pacific beverage may have lost ground to alcohol as urban Tongans adopt a more cosmopolitan life style. Kava, if proved relatively harmless, may be promoted as a less unhealthy alternative to tobacco and alcohol.
This article was published in Soc Sci Med
and referenced in Medicinal Chemistry