BBB National Programs Archive
Bravo Smokes Participates In ERSP Forum
New York, NY – May 10, 2006 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) announced that Bravo Smokes Corporation, marketer of Bravo Smokes, an alternative to nicotine cigarettes, voluntarily discontinued safety claims made on its Website and in radio advertising. ERSP noted that Bravo Smokes substantiated general performance claims, but was asked to modify specific performance and clinically based claims. The marketer’s advertising came to ERSP’s attention through ERSP’s ongoing monitoring program.
ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).
Claims identified by the ERSP included:
- “Clinical testing proves that BRAVO does not increase the heart rate, raise the blood pressure or constrict the blood vessels as does tobacco cigarettes.”
- “…draws like a cigarette and tastes (well pretty close) like a cigarette…”
- “The Safest, Nicotine Free way to stop smoking”
ERSP noted the marketer’s representation that the terms “safe” and “the safest way to quit” would be discontinued in future advertising.
Following its review of the evidence, ERSP determined that there was sufficient evidence to support the general claim that “Bravo is the result of 30 years of research, development and refinement.” However, given the significant level of evidence need to support “clinically based” claims, ERSP determined that the marketer should refrain from communicating in any way that the specific performance aspects of the advertised product have been subject to clinical scrutiny or that Bravo Smokes has “…has been clinically test [sic] in respected health facilities around the country.”
ERSP also recommended that the marketer discontinue the claims “…draws like a cigarette and tastes (well pretty close) like a cigarette…” and “It looks, lights, and draws like a cigarette…” in its advertised context. Similarly, without any testing to indicate the effects of the smoke of Bravo Smokes, ERSP recommended discontinuing the claim “The smoke won’t smart your eyes…burn your throat.” ERSP cautioned Bravo Smokes to be mindful of the context in which terms such as “addiction” are used.
ERSP found sufficient support for the claim “Bravo Smokes helps the heaviest smoker to quit smoking G-R-A-D-U-A-L-L-Y, at their own pace, without experiencing withdrawal symptoms….
ERSP recommended the marketer modify the performance claim: “Within three days, your system will be cleansed of nicotine….”
“While we do not agree with all of ERSP’s comments, our future advertising will be aimed more in line with ERSP’s decision,” the company said in its marketer’s statement “We will revamp our Website shortly, and bring it up to date, including testimonials.”