Tuesday, 29 July 2008 7:55 AM

Smoking and Betel Nut Links Friendship

Smoking and betel nut chewing are two common social interactions that builds friendship for most locals.

From asking to borrow a match to light up a cigarette to sharing a bottle of lime at a betel nut stall is always a starting point for most friendships.

This is especially common for the young people of the Solomons who meet and make new friends through the habits.

One young girl, Evalita Baea said she was once too shy and lacked confidence to approach strangers.

This however changed when she got hooked on the two habits.

"While it is not good health-wise, I have made many friends just from sharing a match or lime," Ms. Baea said.

She said that sometimes it is good to expand friendship borders "because we never know when we would need their assistance".

The habit of betel nut chewing is becoming so common that there has been an increase on betel nut stalls around Honiara.

Ms. Baea said that for most, the two habits has helped bridged the gap not just between gender but also among the many different race in the Solomons.