There are around 232 million tobacco-users in India, of which 30 percent are into the habit of chewing tobacco. Bhookha Haathi, India’s first and fastest growing alternative foods & health based B2B2C AI based nutraceutical company, has a vision for 2050, where it would want to reduce the consumption of tobacco by more than 50 percent.
According to Abhimanyu Rishi – Director, Bhookha Haathi Hospitality Pvt Ltd. – Bhookha Haathi was founded with an aim to build alternative foods & health based nutraceutical-tech brand that helped consumers live a healthy lifestyle by offering them home remedy based products which channelize inner healing by detoxing free radicals. He has explained each and everything below.
Tell us something about Nutraceuticals?
Abhimanyu: “Nutrient” – a nourishing food component and “Pharmaceutical”- describing a medicinal drug forms Nutraceuticals- the products which are a nutritive supplement and can also be consumed as a medicine. Specially processed to satisfy particular dietary requirements by the body, these products are helpful in providing medical or health benefits like in improving health, modulating immunity, delaying the ageing process, preventing chronic diseases and increasing life expectancy.
Nutraceuticals pave way for an ‘alternative’ medicine, offering health solutions at an affordable cost to consumers who wish to substitute/replace their existing dependencies on consuming expensive, processed, strong and chemical-based medications to 100% natural compositions based on dried fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, seeds, grains & honey.
How bad is chewing tobacco for our health? Is it true that smokeless tobacco products contain more nicotine than cigarettes and more harmful to health than smoking?
Abhimanyu: Tobacco kills up to half of its users which is more than 8 million people each year, out of which 29% of deaths are due to chewing tobacco as per the researchers. Some of these products contain 3 to 4 times more Nicotine than cigarettes along with nitrosamine derivatives which have the potential to produce free, reactive oxygen radicals that can ultimately damage genetic material such as RNA & DNA and have potential to destroy cells that produce proteins to form the inner lining of our mouth – fibroblasts. Cigarettes are used periodically while most people addicted to smokeless tobacco products report continuous consumption throughout the day leading to increase in the intake of nicotine and OSMF – oral submucous fibrosis – a condition that is chronic and highly dangerous.
These products are not only associated with cancers of the mouth and pancreas but also result in cardiovascular disease and respiratory conditions. Some studies have even reported associated detrimental effects on women’s reproductive systems. Areca nuts that are used along with tobacco products have stimulating effects that lead to a decrease in hunger, improved digestion, alertness, and depression on the nervous system that leads to relaxation. Gutkha has genotoxic properties and when these tobacco products combine with alcohol, they increase the risk of oral cancer. Cancer of the mouth is among the top ten types of cancer that dominate worldwide. There are around 232 million tobacco-users in India, of which 30 percent are into the habit of chewing tobacco.
Do you think people who are dependent on tobacco can turn to products like dry fruits, nuts and herbs based healthy refreshers and mouth fresheners?
Abhimanyu: People chew smokeless tobacco in a variety of forms like- Paan Masala, Gutkha, Khaini, Dip and Chew. They believe they are getting benefits such as germicidal properties, mouth fresheners, digestive aids, mood enhancement, relief from tension, and oral cleansing. There is still a lack of awareness among people around the harmful effects of consuming smokeless tobacco. When they realise it is doing more harm than good and can lead to diseases like cancer, they have already become addicted to such substances. People could substitute these with dry fruit and nut-based mouth fresheners that are great alternatives to tobacco & non-tobacco based harmful/unhealthy chewables and work well as digestives too. Almonds, cashews, and other dry fruits improve many physiological functions and prevent the onset of several diseases including cancer while fennel which is full of nutrients also provides freshness.
Now that we all are forced into a lockdown, a major issue for addicts is the availability of these products they are so heavily addicted to. Majority of them have slipped into withdrawal, there is a dire need to take cognizance of the situation. The lockdown compounded by some states’ Tobacco Ban has catalysed the impending decision of living a tobacco-free life for some people and switching gears to healthy and chemical-free natural products.
How are you targeting people? What are you doing to convince people to quit tobacco use?
We are targeting the pan shops directly to place our product next to the existing range of chewable tobacco products. We also run educational campaigns at these outlets and then the pan walas are able to promote our product to the customers from thereon.
It is often said AI (Artificial Intelligence) can be a game-changer in healthcare. Tell us how Bhookha Haathi software can help people replace their existing dependencies on tobacco?
Abhimanyu: Bhookha Haathi pioneered a nutraceutical-tech domain powered by its proprietary AI software. With the help of its Artificial Intelligence Software, it provides subscription-based personalized health solutions to customers at an affordable cost who wish to substitute their existing dependencies on consuming expensive, processed, strong and chemical-based medications to 100% natural compositions based on dried fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, seeds, grains & honey. The customer just needs to sign up on the website to get personalised subscription plans for medications. These plans are set based on the lifestyle of the customer. AI works between profiling and the current medication patterns and it suggests a nutraceutical package which includes nutraceutical products based on subscription. As the customer starts consuming the products as suggested, not only many long term and hereditary diseases will be cured but many nutritional deficiencies will also be resolved. As these products are 100% organic and natural, sourced directly from farmers and producers, they have no side effects at all.
How Bhookha Haathi is different from other dietary supplements manufacturers?
Abhimanyu: Most of the dietary supplements available in the market contain some or the other kind of preservatives, chemicals or synthetics, however, our products are 100% natural/organic and are derived from our proprietary compositions.
What are the innovative methods you are using to help people get rid of unhealthy and harmful chewing habits?
We educate consumers with the help of hyperlocal and community-based activations whereby we display the strength of our products which not only helps them to get rid of harmful and unhealthy chewing habits but also helps in maintaining their health and boosting immunity.
Tell us about your products?
We have a range of products including dry-fruit mouth refreshers, dry-fruit health-booster starter pack (natural, daily health boosters for sports, fitness, and health enthusiasts), and pro-health booster packs (for gym, yoga, and bicycling experts) along with the range of speciality honey that is a healthy replacement to the sugars used in tea, coffee and other daily usages.