Eric Lawson, who was once the face of Marlboro cigarettes, has died of respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, at the age of 72 on January 10. He appeared in print ads as the Marlboro Man from 1978 to 1981.
The Marlboro Man was a tough, self-sufficient, and rugged cowboy who represented an image of America synonymous with the cigarette brand.
However, he is not the first Marlboro man to die of a smoking-related disease. The dark reality of it is, at least four actors who have played him in ads have died of diseases caused by smoking. Wayne McLaren died of lung cancer in 1992, and David McLean died of the same cause in 1995. David Millar succumbed to emphysema in 1987 age 81.
The Marlboro Man was finally finished by the 1998 Master Settlement forbidding tobacco companies to use humans or cartoons on tobacco advertising in the U.S.
Both Wayne McLaren and Eric Lawson have participated in anti-smoking campaigns. Lawson’s campaign even parodied the Marlboro Man.
In any case, smoking cigarettes has been a leading cause of death all over. May the men of Marlboro ads rest in peace.
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