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.


  • Choosing a Counseling Therapy

    fter many years of stagnation in improving counseling approaches for helping smokers stop, we have several new counseling treatments. Most prominent are a) Motivational Interviewing, b) Reduction in cigarettes/day, c) Mindfulness Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Randomized trials show that MI (Cochrane Review, 2015) and reduction in cigarettes/day (Cochrane Review, 2015) both increase quitting among those not ready to quit, and also among those already trying to quit (although there is...
  • Extended Counseling Improves Quit Rates: Empirical Support for What We Do

    In prior blogs I have reported the results of Sharon Hall’s and others’ studies of keeping treatment ongoing after the first few weeks. In the past Sharon and others have examined extending both medication and counseling but I want to focus on the latter. Two prior randomized trials have examined extending counseling with a cognitive-behavorial therapy (CBT) focus. One found a nonsignificant trend that extended treatment lead to higher quit rates. The other, by Dr Hall, more clearly showed extended CBT to be more effective. In a third, just published study, she again found more CBT improved quit rates (Am J Pub Hlth, 2011). The treatment was eleven individual, outpatient cognitive-behavioral treatment sessions lasting about 20-30 min between weeks 12 and 52. Even 2 yrs after the quit date, she found highest quit rates in the two CBT....