Not Even the Marlboro Man was Immune to COPD

by | Dec 13, 2016 | Lifestyle, Smoking

In the world of advertising, few ad campaigns had the longevity and level of success of the “Marlboro Man.”

The iconic images featuring a man wearing a white hat while working on a ranch with a cigarette in his mouth appeared on billboards, magazines and TV commercials for decades. During the ad campaign’s run from 1954 to 1999, the Marlboro Man became an American pop-culture icon and a symbol of masculinity. But for those actors who portrayed the Marlboro Man in ads, embodying the tough, hard-working man’s man came with a price.

In 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that at least four actors who played the Marlboro Man character had died of smoking-related diseases. One of the Marlboro Men, Eric Larson, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an ailment most frequently caused by smoking. Larson smoked his first cigarette at the age of 14 and died at the age of 72.

“He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him,” Susan Lawson, Eric’s wife, said to the Associated Press. “He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.”

It seems likely other actors, models and actual cowboys who portrayed the character have battled chronic lung diseases as well, but the circumstances of their deaths have been kept private.

In 1998, the Master Settlement Agreement was reached between tobacco companies and state attorneys general of 46 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. This agreement forbade Big Tobacco from using humans or cartoons on tobacco advertising in the United States. This meant tobacco ad campaigns, such as the Marlboro Man and Joe Camel, the cartoon mascot of Camel cigarettes, had to ride off into the sunset.

In his prime, the Marlboro Man encapsulated the allure of smoking across all ages and genders. From his rugged stance and solemn demeanor, the figure inspired generations of youth to pick up a cigarette, and unfortunately many are paying for it today.

COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 11 million people being diagnosed and millions more may have it and not know it. Those people who dealing with the disease have faced gradual decline with few options. However, as clinics such as the Lung Health Institute (lunginstitute.com/dev) have developed a beneficial alternative in cellular therapy, hope may be here.

The Lung Health Institute uses cells derived from the patient’s own body. The cells are extracted from the blood, separated and returned intravenously. The cells then travel through the heart and into the lungs where they aggregate in the pulmonary trap. Once there, the cells may promote healing.

Since opening their first clinic in 2013, the Lung Health Institute has treated more than 3,000 people with lung disease nationwide. In a recent study conducted by the Lung Health Institute, 83 percent of patients reported an improvement in quality of life.

One of those people is Herbert K., of Dallas, Texas, whose last name is abbreviated for medical privacy. Herbert stated that when he first got up in the morning, he could not walk from the bedroom to the kitchen without having to stop and lean on the counter to catch his breath.

After receiving cellular therapy at the Lung Health Institute, Herbert and his wife noticed improvements, reporting that Herbert and his wife walk a mile at least three days a week.

“I walked out one morning and said ‘I can breathe,’” Herbert said. “It has just gotten better from that point on.”

The Lung Health Institute operates cellular therapy clinics in Nashville, TN; Pittsburgh, PA; Scottsdale, AZ; Tampa, FL and Dallas, TX. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about cellular therapy, and the Lung Health Institute, please contact us or call 888-745-6697.

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