Friday, 12 March 2010

*Reg from New Horizons: Ozone technician

Reg, who describes himself as a "Wellness/Oxygen Practicioner", put a classified ad in this month's Kindred Spirit Magazine.

UPDATE, 11 Apr 2012: Reginald Gill was today sentenced to eight years in prison. The full story can be read here.

UPDATE, 16th Jun 2010: The ASA Council's Adjudication has upheld my complaint against A2Z Ozone UK aka New Horizons

I've never been in any doubt that oxygen is good for my "wellness" - not since the last time I held my breath - but on this occasion, Reg is advertising an ozone-generating device.

"Simple, safe and effective using ozone generation. For drinking, bathing, youthful-looking skin, alkalizing [sic], aids respiration. No replacement parts required, one off payment £90.50 + P&P. Tel: 01267 281161"

I suspect these claims are balderdash, so I knocked off a letter to the ASA.

"I write to complain about an advert in “Kindred Spirit” magazine (March/April 2010, page 93), which promotes a "Water Purifier".

The advert does not disclose the identity of the advertiser; however, I understand that the advertisers are "Reg & Leila (Wellness/Oxygen Practitioners" of New Horizons, Belle Vue Close, Carmarthen, Sir Gaerfyrddin, SA33 6XT [1][2]

I suspect that the advert is in breach of five sections of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code.

I have submitted a scan of the advert. The advert is in the bottom-right hand corner of the page, labelled "NEW WATER PURIFIER". I can provide an original copy of the advert by post, if required.

1. The CAP Code, Section 3.1, states "Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove all claims, whether direct or implied, that are capable of objective substantiation."

2. The CAP Code, Section 50.1, states "Medical and scientific claims made about beauty and health-related products should be backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people..."

3. I challenge whether the advertiser holds documentary evidence to prove any of the following claims, and I challenge whether the claim is backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people:

(i) The water purifier generates ozone
(ii) The water purifier produces "youthful-looking skin"
(iii) The water purifier is capable of "alkalizing" [sic] water
(iv) The water purifier aids respiration

4. Ozone is an irritant affecting the eyes and respiratory system. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety [3]:

"Even very low concentrations of ozone can be harmful to the upper respiratory tract and the lungs. The severity of injury depends on both by the concentration of ozone and the duration of exposure. Severe and permanent lung injury or death could result from even a very short-term exposure to relatively low concentrations."

5. The CAP Code, Section 2.1, states "All marketing communications should be legal, decent, honest and truthful."

6. The CAP Code, Section 6.1, states "Marketers should not exploit the credulity, lack of knowledge or inexperience of consumers."

7. The CAP Code, Section 7.1, states "No marketing communication should mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise."

8. I challenge whether the description of a device, described as a "water purifier" but utilising "ozone generation" can possibly be truthful (section 2.1), whether it exploits the credulity of consumers (section 6.1) and whether it is likely to mislead (section 7.1).

9. I confirm that I have no connections with the advertiser, with the magazine, or with the publishing and alternative medicine industries in general. I confirm that I am not involved in legal proceedings with the advertiser or the magazine.

10. I confirm that I am happy to be identified as the complainant.


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