India and Central Asia have a number of native preparations of tobacco, many of which are chewed or placed inside the mouth, rather than smoked: Betel is frequently used in these products, as is slaked lime. There are a number of languages represented below; unfortunately, my sources do not distinguish them,


  • paan. Betel nut, mixed with lime and catechu and sometimes tobacco. It is sweetened with sugar, wrapped in a betel leaf and chewed. It is often perfumed in various ways. Also known as a betel quid.
  • gutka. Essentially the same thing as paan, but sold dried in little baggies without the betel nut. In 2002 India imposed a ban on its production and sale, because of the large number of children found to be developing oral cancer after using it.
  • kiwam. A flavored tobacco paste used for chewing.
  • pati. Tobacco chewed with betel.

Held or rubbed in mouth:

  • khaini. Ball of tobacco mixed with slaked lime, held in the cheek.
  • mawa . A mixture of betel nut and tobacco with lime water.
  • mishri. Powdered, near-burnt tobacco, favored by poor Indian women for cleaning the teeth.
  • gudakhu. Similar to mishir but sweetened with molasses (which is also used in smoking tobacco in Arabia). Sold in tubes as a kind of toothpaste.
  • shammah. Tobacco mixed with any of various mineral substances and held inside the lower lip.
  • naswar. Similar to shammah, often flavored and colored with indigo.
  • nass. Similar to shammah, with cotton seed oil added.


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