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Fighting over WordsLanguage and Civil Law Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195328837

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328837.001.0001

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Nicotine Patch Advertisements

Nicotine Patch Advertisements

The States of Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Texas v. CIBA‐Geigy Corporation

Chapter:
(p.55) CHAPTER 6 Nicotine Patch Advertisements
Source:
Fighting over Words
Author(s):

Roger W. Shuy (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195328837.003.0007

In a class action suit based on deceptive trade practices brought by eleven state attorneys general against the maker of a nicotine skin patch, plaintiffs claimed that the advertisements for that product made deceptive and false claims about its ability to cause smokers to “quit smoking” and that claims to success in this were based on inadequate research tests. Analysis of the narrative structure of the advertisement indicates that it did not include the conventional evaluation phase. The advertisement's implicature is that the narrator now thinks he can quit smoking, but nowhere does he say that he successfully quit. Semantic analyses of “quit” and “quitter” do not convey total permanence but, rather, ambiguously suggest an attempt with either permanent or temporal effects, supported by many citations based on a Lexis/Nexis search of media usage. If the advertisement had wanted to indicate permanence, the defense suggested words available in the lexicon to do this.

Keywords:   class action, deceptive, advertisement, narrative structure, implicature, semantic, Lexis/Nexis, lexicon, evaluation

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