The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Not Even the Marlboro Man was Immune to COPD

13 Dec 2016
| Under Lifestyle, Smoking | Posted by | 4 Comments
Not Even the Marlboro Man was Immune to COPD

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 Institute (lunginstitute.com) have developed a beneficial alternative in stem cell therapy, hope may be here.

The Lung Institute uses autologous stem cells or those derived from the patient’s own body. The stem cells are extracted from either the blood or bone marrow, 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 stem cells may promote healing.

Since opening their first clinic in 2013, the Lung Institute has treated more than 3,000 people with lung disease nationwide. In a recent study conducted by the Lung 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 stem cell therapy at the Lung 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 Institute operates stem cell treatment 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 stem cell therapy, and the Lung Institute, please contact us or call (800) 729-3065.


  1. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Marion,

    Thanks for your comment. We have treated people at many ages. Treatment cost varies depending on treat type, so it’s best to speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators to discuss treatment options. Our patient coordinators have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment, candidacy and cost. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Marion C.

    1 year ago

    I would like to know the cost of this treatment .And am I to old I’m 71 going to be 72 this month and live in Florida.

  3. sh

    1 year ago

    Dear Darla,

    Not at all.
    Please contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. Our patient coordinators have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment, candidacy and cost. We hope to hear from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  4. Darla

    1 year ago

    Very interested, but believe I’m too old for stem cell treatment at 77. Would like to learn more.

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. The Lung Institute is firmly in accordance with the conditions set by the FDA for exemption status and conducts itself in full accordance with current guidelines. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and stem cell procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.