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.


  • Gradual Reduction for Smoking Cessation

    A recent randomized trial (Annals Int Med, epublication) found that, among smokers trying to quit, gradual cessation was inferior to abrupt cessation (6 month prolonged abstinence = 15% vs 22%) and this occurred even in smokers who preferred gradual reduction. This study was replication of our earlier trial (Drug Alcohol Dependence 111:105–113) that was more externally and internally valid and have more clear-cut results than our trial.....
  • Could Helping Smokers Plan a Quit Attempt Be Harmful

    Several experimental studies have suggested gradual cessation is, as effective but no more effective, than abrupt cessation. We completed a study in which we found that, surprisingly, smokers who wanted to quit gradually did somewhat better with abrupt than gradual. Followup studies suggested that perhaps part of the reason for this is that gradual cessation requires putting off quitting for several days or weeks and smokers may lose motivation over time. In addition, most, but not all...