Thursday, August 24, 2006

Quackery Gone Wild: Laser and Smoking Cessation

I was driving to clinic yesterday and heard an advertisement by Laser Associates of Chicago to promote their laser therapy for smoking cessation. I nearly crashed my car. "What the heck is that," I thought. So I did some research.

Low-level laser light (the stuff coming out of laser pointers) is red light that when reportedly applied to "acupuncture" sites, stimulates the release of endorphins - specialized neuroreceptors in the brain, that by some incredible circumstance, this helps you stop smoking! Wow! It's Star Trek in real life!!!

But closer inspection demonstrates the sinister plot developing. You see, this "clinic" is a "doctor-directed" clinic, so the web site says. I have no clue who is really running it or the exertise of the "therapists." Closer review demonstrates that the "clinical director" is a chiropractor named Thomas E. Newell. According to the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation's license look-up web page, Dr. Newell had an active chiropractor license from 12/20/1960 through 7/31/1996 and failed to renew the license since that time. It seems Dr. Tom has decided to promote a form of smoking cessation that is not based in fact and aims to defraud people out of $299-$399 per "treatment." Similar clinics have popped up in Las Vegas and Detroit. The citizens' action group Public Citizen has made efforts to petition the FDA to stop fraudulent advertising by these clinics. But one of the firms, Freedom Laser Therapy has offered a weak retort to Public Citizen's claims citing their "IRB" (or Investigational Review Board) is on top of the data-gathering. But who sits on their Investigational Review Board? Are they all stock-holders in Freeedom Laser Therapy? Do they REALLY have the patients' best interests at heart? Are patients given informed consent BEFORE therapy? Is that consent signed and dated by the treating unlicensed doctor?

So please, beware. Avoid this scam. Save your money, or if you must spend your hard-earned $299 in cash somewhere, send it to the American Cancer Society to find a cure for cancer, or to Public Citizen to shut these guys down.



Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Fisher,

It is extremely disturbing reading your blog. You are potentially discouraging smokers from trying a smoking cessation procedure which could save their lives. Do you know enough about this procedure to make statements like you are? Have you experienced 9,000 people walking through your doors and heard their first hand experiences? You would never put statement like this on the internet, if you had.

Our goal is only to help people. I'm certain you are misinformed about what this procedure is all about. In addition, this is completely the opposite from a get rich industry.

Most of the people involved have been helped by the laser therapy procedure and deeply desire to help others.

If you are interested in expanding your awareness about this technology which has been available internationally for 35 years I'll be happy to speak to you personally to discuss what I've learned from being involved in this laser therapy industry.

Best regards,
Craig Nabat
Freedom Laser Therapy

323-933-0304 tel

DrWes said...


I'll look forward to calling you. In the interest of fairness, perhaps we could do a post on this blog and you could describe your response to Public Citizen and any studies you've performed (with references so we could read them) in a public forum for the blogosphere to vet.

I'm sure that would be informative to all.

19 Sep 2008 @ 05:49 AM CST