2 Betel nut, a mild narcotic, has been widely used in Asia for centuries Betel nut, a mild narcotic, has been widely used in Asia for centuries. It is popular because of its cheap, pleasant buzz, and it’s one of Taiwan’s major cash crops, contributing enormously to the economy.However, betel nut also has many critics. Environmentalists claim that betel nut is responsible for Taiwan’s high rate of oral cancer, and many people dislike seeing the red-stained saliva where it has been spit on the sidewalk.
3 But the loudest objection to Taiwan’s betel nit industry is to “betel nut beauties,” the young girls who sell it. Because these girls wear skimpy clothing and sit exposed in glass booths, politicians contend they give Taiwan a sleazy image. Owners, however, insist that this is a decent job for these girls and argue that sexy images are used to sell many products today. With millions of Taiwanese chewing betel nut, the controversy is not going to go away anytime soon.