New Jersey Company That Markets Hypnosis Seminars for
Smoking Cessation and Weight Loss Agrees to Settle FTC Charges

FTC News Release
July 22, 1994

Gorayeb Seminars, Inc. and company owner Ronald Gorayeb have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made unsubstantiated claims in their advertisements about the success of participants in their seminars in stopping smoking permanently and in losing weight. The proposed settlement would, among other things, prohibit the respondents from making any representation about the relative or absolute performance or efficacy of any smoking cessation or weight-loss program, unless they possess and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the representation.

Based in Rockaway, New Jersey, Gorayeb Seminars, Inc. (GSI) and Gorayeb Learning Systems, Inc. (GLS) advertise and sell seminars for smoking cessation and weight loss. The "Gorayeb Method" is a two-hour, single-session group hypnosis seminar conducted by Ronald Gorayeb, at various sites throughout the United States.

According to the FTC's complaint detailing its charges, the respondents made numerous statements in ads and promotions for the seminars, including:

Through the use of such statements, the FTC charged, the respondents have represented that seminar participants are cured of smoking addiction and will permanently abstain from smoking cigarettes; that they will do so without experiencing anxiety or weight gain; and that thousands of consumers have permanently quit smoking or have achieved and maintained weight loss as a result of attending respondents' seminars.

The FTC alleges that these representations are deceptive because the respondents do not possess adequate substantiation for them.

To settle these charges, a proposed consent agreement announced today for public comment would prohibit the respondents from representing the performance or efficacy of any smoking cessation or weight-loss program in the future, unless they possess a reasonable basis, consisting of competent and reliable scientific evidence, to substantiate the claims. The proposed consent agreement also would prohibit the respondents from making unsubstantiated claims that seminar participants are cured of smoking addiction without experiencing withdrawal, anxiety, weight gain, or other side effects.

The Commission vote to accept the proposed consent agreement for public comment was 5-0.

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