CNMI Legislature Looks To Prohibit Sale Of Betel Nut To Minors

House of Representatives passes bill banning sale to those under 18

By Dennis B. Chan

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, August 15, 2016) – The House of Representatives on Thursday voted to approve a bill to prohibit the sale of betel nut to minors.

All House of Representatives members present voted to pass the bill, House Bill 19-65, Senate Substitute 1, in their session last week.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan) with Rep. Vinson Sablan (Ind-Saipan) last year, prohibits the sale of Areca Nut, or betel nut, to any person under the age of 18.

Among other provisions, the bill requires business to post signs reading “BETEL NUT SALE IS PROHIBETED TO PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF 18,” and enforces fines ranging from $100 to $500 and a revocation of the license to sell betel nut.

The bill is intended to protect the youth from the dangers of developing oral cancer, amid the public health concern of rising oral cancer cases in the community.

Studies conducted in 2003 and 2009 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed that betel nut chewing, with or without tobacco, could cause oral cancer.

Saipan Tribune
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