Ooh Seh Bya Testimonial – Karen Tobacco-Free Program

Karen Tobacco-Free Program Video Blog Post – 3/24/16
Oo Seh Bya
“I was born and raised in [Pan-on] village in Myanmar. People call me Oo Seh Bya.
Back in Myanmar my family survived by farming. Growing up in Myanmar I faced many challenges and later I was forced to flee to Thailand. Being a refugee from Myanmar I was given the opportunity to migrate to the United States of America where I was hospitalized multiple times. The reason for my illness was the use of tobacco.
My doctor told me to stop smoking. If I was still in Myanmar I would have died. I followed the advice of my doctor and was able to quit smoking. I would like to encourage all members of the Karen community to stop using tobacco for the sake of our next generation. I was a heavy smoker and I do not want to see anyone in my community having to go through the same hardship.
Chewing Betel nut is very common in our tradition. I have been chewing for many years but it is not a good thing and can cause many health issues like cholesterol, brain damage, and loss of memory. If the Betel nut leaf and lime paste are absorbed into your veins, it can make you high and dizzy. I am a heavy Betel nut chewer, that is why I have become a forgetful person.
I would like to show you how to wrap the Betel nut. I put a little bit of lime paste, tobacco paste, chopped tobacco, and chopped Betel nut together, wrap it up, and I chew it. Betel nut is not good for health and teeth.
I would like to encourage the Karen community members to stop chewing. Please, try to improve your health! I am a heavy Betel nut chewer and as a result, I have to live with my bad teeth. I would like to say to all of the tobacco-free program leaders and all of my community members, thank you very much and may you have a long life with my best wishes.”

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