About the Blog Author-John R. Hughes, MD

John R. Hughes, MD is Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Family Practice at the University of Vermont. Dr. Hughes is board certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry. His major focus has been clinical research on tobacco use. Dr. Hughes received the Ove Ferno Award for research in nicotine dependence and the Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Health. He is a co-founder and past president of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, and the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence. Dr. Hughes has been Chair of the Vermont Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board which oversees VT’s multi-million dollar tobacco control programs. He has over 400 publications on nicotine and other drug dependencies and is one of the world’s most cited tobacco scientist. Dr. Hughes has been a consultant on tobacco policy to the World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the White House. His current research is on how tobacco users and marijuana users stop or reduce use on their own, novel methods to prompt quit attempts by such users, whether smoking cessation reduces reward sensitivity and whether stopping e-cigarettes causes withdrawal. Dr Hughes has received fees from companies who develop smoking cessation devices, medications and services, from governmental and academic institutions, and from public and private organizations that promote tobacco control.


  • Does the Addiction/Brain Disease Model Help or Hinder Tobacco Treatment

    I and others have often tried to decrease “cessation fatigue” by decreasing self-blame of those who have failed to quit on multiple occasions (e.g. via having smokers believe that their inability to quit may not derive from poor willpower but due to a surplus of the addiction “disease”. But is this an evidence-based strategy?
    The alcohol and illicit drug abuse treatment and research community has mostly believed that the “disease model” has been helpful. However, recent reviews suggest this may not be the case (Social Science and Medicine 96:95;...
  • Can we predict who will quit? Does it matter?

    Vangeli et al (Addiction 106: 2110-2121, 2011) identified eight large, population based studies of smoking cessation in the real world. The surveys included both US and other countries. Six used data acquired between 2000 and 2010. These studies offer the most generalizable test of predictors of making a quit attempt or predicting success once one tries to quit.
  • Does Promoting Insight into Addiction Help or Hinder Smoking Cessation?

    Oftentimes those addicted to drugs deny they are addicted. Methods to convince them they are, indeed, addicted (many of which are confrontational) to break down “denial” are common in the treatment of non-nicotine addictions. Randomized trials of breaking down denial as a treatment are not available. In fact, others have argued that emphasizing addiction undermines willingness to...
  • Pros and Cons of Describing Addiction as a Brain Disease

    A recent editorial (Gartner et al, Addiction 107:1199) discussed the pros and cons of describing addiction as a “brain disease.” It noted that advocates..