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.


  • Changing Multiple Behaviors Simultaneously vs Sequentially

    In two prior blogs I described the theory and evidence that self‐control is like a muscle in that one has a limited amount of self‐control and using that up on one task can make it harder to be successful at another self‐control task (Self‐control as a Finite Resource 5/20/14). But on the other hand training one’s self in unrelated self‐control tasks can improve self‐control on a later task (Building the Self‐Control Muscle, 2/26/16)....
  • Self Control as a Finite Resource

    Although many bemoaned the lack of innovative behavioral therapies for smoking in the 1990s, recently there has been a spate of new treatments‐mindfulness, acceptance therapy, persistence therapy, etc. These new treatments have often arisen from basic psychology theories that have been validated. One of these is the “Strength Model of Self‐Control” that posits one has a limited amount of self‐control and expending self‐control in one area, depletes this resource and, thus, one has less self‐control to tackle a new problem in a different area. A meta‐analysis of 83 tests of this theory found consistent support , including studies examining smoking (Hagger, Psych Bulletin 136: 495, 2010). More recent studies have suggested this effect is due, in...