Karen Tobacco-Free Program

The Karen Tobacco-Free Program, a partnership between KOM (Karen Organization of Minnesota) and WellShare International, aims to educate the Karen community on the harms of tobacco, and to eliminate the use of tobacco in indoor and outdoor settings.


Why is this program important?

  • Karen and other refugees from Burma are more likely to use betel nut and tobacco products and be exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke causes many health problems for children, youth, young adults, and the elderly.
  • Prohibiting smoking in multi-unit housing buildings helps protect and improve the health of individuals and the community.

The Karen Tobacco-Free Program involves the entire community. We consult with Karen religious leaders and communities utilizing Karen Community Health Workers to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Community Outreach and Education Activities:

  • We connect with the Karen community through an online presence on the Karen Organization of MN’s website (www.mnkaren.org) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mnkarenorg).
  • We conduct community outreach activities at Karen grocery stores, community events, and religious centers.
  • We increase accessible and culturally-relevant community education to support tobacco-free policies as a priority within the Karen community.
  • We coordinate with religious leaders to deliver a uniform message about the harms of chewing betel nut and smoking tobacco including secondhand smoke.


Multi-Unit Housing Tobacco-Free Policy Adoption:

  • Improve air quality for healthy living and work with multi-unit housing managers and landlords to adopt and implement smoke-free policies at their properties.
  • Reduce serious side-effects for the passive smokers and provide referrals to smoking cessation programs for interested residents.
  • Facilitate events to celebrate and recognize the adoption and implementation of a smoke-free policy and the creation of a healthier community.
  • Conduct community meetings and gatherings to discuss smoke-free policy adoption and implementation with residents.
  • Minimize the cost of serious health issues related to tobacco consumption.

with the Karen Organization of Minnesota

Posted by WellShare International on Monday, March 7, 2016


Karen Tobacco-Free Program

Happy to stay tobacco-free

Choose not to use

Peer Pressure and Smoking

Karen Tobacco Free – Cha Na Gu: Peer Pressure & Smoking from iDream.tv on Vimeo.

Smoker’s Widow

Karen Tobacco Free – Kpru Htoo: Smoker’s Widow from iDream.tv on Vimeo.


Karen Tobacco Free – Pler Paw: Nonsmoker from iDream.tv on Vimeo.


Karen Stop Smoking and Chewing Campaign

Karen Stop Smoking and Chewing Campaign (WellShare International) from iDream.tv on Vimeo.