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Did COPD Cause the End of the Marlboro Man?

25 Aug 2016
| Under COPD, Lung Disease, Smoking | Posted by | 1 Comment
Did COPD Cause the End of the Marlboro Man?

Marlboro brand was advertised in 1924 as the first cigarette for women, shocking at the time, with the debut slogan “Mild as May.” The packaging was designed for feminine appeal; the filter end of the cigarette being wrapped in red to hide the imprint of lipstick. Despite efforts to convince women to smoke Marlboros, the brand had mediocre success. Early ads showed black-and-white sketches of waifish flappers, slouched over an ashtray at a bistro table. It wasn’t until the 1950s that, as a Stanford University study put it, the brand underwent a “sex change.” For decades after the shift to male-oriented marketing, the Marlboro Man personified America’s image of itself–tough, hard-working and self-reliant. One of the 20th century’s most well-known ad campaigns began in the ‘50s with a rugged, handsome man working in the great outdoors squinting against the smoke of a Marlboro cigarette in his mouth. So, did COPD cause the end of the Marlboro Man?

Well into the 1960s, all filtered cigarettes, including Marlboro, were considered feminine accessories in American society. Marlboro wanted to convince male consumers that the filter did nothing to change the “man-sized taste of honest tobacco,” as the ads put it. Phillip Morris came up with a campaign that presented various macho stereotypes they called “the Tattooed Man.” These were construction workers, mechanics, military officers and weightlifters who each bore a hand tattoo suggesting some adventurous past. Of all these, Phillip Morris found the cowboy to be so successful that they eventually switched their marketing strategy for Marlboro to that image of a hard man on the frontier. The Marlboro Man was born.

Did COPD Cause the End of the Marlboro Man?

Today, we know the reality behind the Marlboro Man. At least four actors who have played the part in ads have died of smoking-related diseases. It seems likely others have as well, but the circumstances of their deaths have been kept private.

One of the Marlboro Men, Eric Larson,  died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), most frequently caused by smoking. He smoked his first cigarette at age 14. A common COPD cause is from inhaling cigarette smoke.

“He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him,” his wife, Susan Lawson, told the Associated Press in 2014. “He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.”

Other Marlboro models have shared Lawson’s unglamorous end, some of them actual cowboys, others Californian actors or rugged-looking stand-ins. Marlboro Man, David Millar of Meriden, N.H., succumbed to emphysema in 1987 at age 81. Wayne McLaren, a Marlboro Man who died of lung cancer in 1992 at the age of 51, after 25 years of smoking, followed his modeling career with an anti-smoking campaign that lasted until his death.

McLaren’s mother, Louise, told The Times that among McLaren’s last words were, “Take care of the children. Tobacco will kill you, and I am living proof of it.”

In another example, Marlboro model David McLean succumbed to lung cancer at 73 in 1995. After his death, his widow sued Philip Morris, claiming McLean had to chain-smoke packs and packs of cigarettes during Marlboro shoots, so the directors could “get the ashes to fall a certain way, the smoke to rise a certain way and the hand to hold the cigarette in a certain way.”

The McLean lawsuit was dismissed by a federal judge who ruled that under California law Phillip Morris was protected from the lawsuit. McLean’s widow was actually billed for the costs of the lawsuit.

In 1998, a master settlement between tobacco companies and state attorneys general forbade Big Tobacco from using humans or cartoons on tobacco advertising in the United States. Thus, the Marlboro Man rode “into the sunset on Joe Camel,” said then Florida Attorney General Robert Butterworth once the deal was complete.

About the Lung Institute and COPD, emphysema and chronic lung disease treatment options

What ever happened to the Marlboro Man?

Many Americans remain shackled to tobacco addiction and smoking, which is a common COPD cause. There are tools, such as the Lung Institute’s Smoking Cessation Guide and the American Lung Association’s  Freedom From Smoking® program that can help people break free of the deadly habit.

While a common COPD cause is smoking, stopping smoking can help ease some COPD symptoms. COPD treatment is important to managing symptoms. Many people have reported improved quality of life after their stem cell treatment for COPD at the Lung Institute. The Lung Institute is a leading medical provider of regenerative cellular therapy for lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease in the United States. Founded in 2013 in Tampa, Fla., the Lung Institute has treated over 2,500 patients and operates clinics in Tampa, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Pittsburgh, PA and Dallas, TX. You can do it; you can quit smoking. For more information about stem cell treatment optionscontact us or call (800) 729-3065.

1 Comment

  1. Joe Bolejack

    2 months ago

    Diagnosed with asthma and copd in 1998. stopped smoking in 1997.

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