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.”