Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.
Asthma is a common condition that can cause coughing, wheezing and breathlessness as a result of inflammation of the airways. We understand it can be caused by many things but the symptoms of asthma can have a range of triggers which vary from person to person. Common triggers include house dust mites, animal fur, pollen, tobacco smoke, mould or damp, chemicals in carpets and flooring materials, exercise, and cold air and chest infections.
Asthma is considered a medical condition for which advice from a suitably qualified person should be sought (Rule 12.2). Therefore, claims that a therapy or product can diagnose, alleviate the symptoms of or treat asthma are likely to be unacceptable unless conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional. In 2011, the ASA upheld complaints about Ionic Balance bracelets. The copy referred to a range of health problems as well as medical conditions for which advice from a suitably qualified person should be sought; including asthma. It considered that the claims could discourage patients from seeking essential treatment and concluded that they breached the Code (Ionic Balance, 26 October 2011). Similarly, in 2012 the ASA upheld complaints about a complimentary therapy which claimed it could treat, amongst other conditions, asthma. Again, it considered that the ad discouraged essential medical treatment for conditions for which medical supervision should be sought, and considered the copy in breach of the Code (Radiant Life Technologies, 12 December 2012).
Allergy & Asthma Ltd, 17 April 2013