FTC Settles With Marketers of "Smoke Away" for $1.3M

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The Federal Trade Commission has settled with the marketers of "Smoke Away" dietary supplementary kits whose radio and television commercials and infomercials claimed that its product would allow smokers to quit smoking quickly, permanently and without cravings or side effects.

"Smoke Away" owner Emerson Direct Inc., Naples, FL, and its owner, Michael J. Connors, agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle the charges.

The defendants, who also included a doctor in New Jersey and another in Illinois, were stopped from making unsubstantiated claims in ads unless backed by scientific evidence.

The FTC said the defendants didn't have a reasonable basis for the claims they made about "Smoke Away" or for claiming that the supplements were more effective than FDA-approved smoking-cessation products.

Emerson Direct promoted "Smoke Away" in a national TV infomercial, 60- and 120-second spots, 60-second radio spots and on Web sites.

The ads made several claims.

Among them: "Smoke Away" helped smokers quit smoking in seven days or less; it enabled smokers to quit smoking quickly, effortlessly and permanently; it eliminated nicotine cravings; they were no withdrawal symptoms or side effects like weight gain, insomnia or tension; and that it was more effective than nicotine patches and gum or antismoking prescription medications.

The FTC complaint alleged those claims were false and unsubstantiated. Emerson also misrepresented that they offered timely refunds to consumers who requested such refunds, the agency said.

What equally irked the FTC was the fact that one of the advertising endorsers was a chiropractor.

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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