The University of Arizona

Helpers: Helping Someone Quit Tobacco
Following Up

Follow Up

At the end of your helping conversation, look for opportunities to arrange a follow up. Having an understanding and accepting approach, avoiding arguments and judgments, offering relevant information and a sense of hopefulness increases the chances that your help will be sought in the future.
By following up, you become a resource for someone, even if they are not yet ready to consider quitting.
It’s not always possible to follow up with someone. You may end up talking with someone you will never see again. In these situations, suggest that the tobacco user continue to talk with others about their progress towards quitting or seek help at a time when they are ready to quit.
Arranging follow-up means developing an agreement that you will talk about tobacco use again at a future time when you will provide ongoing support.

Examples of Follow-up

Here are three examples of follow-up contacts:

  1. Janet, a beautician, has finished a helping conversation with her client Tania. Tania has decided to look at the website for the tobacco quitline and to tell Janet what she thinks about it at her next appointment.
  2. Bill has been carrying on a helping conversation by email with his younger brother Paul who’s away at college. They agree to sit down and talk when Paul comes home at Thanksgiving.
  3. Angelina has a positive helping conversation with her husband Brad. This is a new beginning. Brad’s relieved that Angelina listened to him instead of giving him a lecture. He’s not ready to quit but has agreed to read the handout on medications and talk about it with Angelina.

Remembering Follow Ups

If you work in a medical clinic or social services and are helping your patients or clients quit, having a formal reminder system is very important. An example of a clinical reminder system is a sticker for patient charts that reminds staff to follow-up on smoking status.
For those who are helping at home or in social situations, a reminder system can help you remember your follow-up contacts. Examples of personal reminder systems include sending yourself an e-mail or putting a note on your calendar.

Tips for follow up:

  1. Get buy-in from the person you’re talking with. Be willing to take no for an answer or to let the tobacco user decide when they want to talk again.
  2. Involve the tobacco user in making decisions about what will happen or is expected during a follow-up.

Create a reminder system for yourself.