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Marlboro Models’ Deaths Tied to Smoking

Update Date: Jan 29, 2014 09:39 AM EST

Since the 1950s, the Marlboro Man was viewed as a handsome man who notoriously carried out his tasks with a cigarette in his mouth. Despite the image that was depicted back when the dangers of smoking were unclear, the Marlboro man today reveals how smoking can kill. The latest Marlboro Man, Eric Lawson, 72, recently passed away due to smoking-related causes.

Lawson became one of at least three Marlboro Man models that have passed away due to cigarettes. Lawson died in San Luis Obispo, CA on Jan. 10, 2014. According to Lawson's wife, Susan, he ultimately died from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is a lung condition that can be caused by long-term smoking.

"He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him," Lawson, said to The Associated Press according to the Seattle Times. "He knew, yet he still couldn't stop."

Lawson, who started smoking at the age of 14, has become another victim of the deadly habit tied to Marlboro. In 1987, Marlboro Man David Miller died at the age of 81 due to emphysema. Miller was from Meriden, NH. In 1992, Wayne McLaren succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 51. McLaren had a modeling job with the cigarette company and had reportedly smoked for 25 years. McLaren also had started an anti-smoking war against Marlboro and Philip Morris, the company's owner.

"I've spent the last month of my life in an incubator and I'm telling you, it's just not worth it," McLaren had once said.

The fourth fatality was David McLean, who died from lung caner in the UCLA Medical Center at the age of 73. After McLean passed away, his wife sued Morris for supposedly forcing McLean to smoke pack after pack of cigarettes during the shoots in order to get the perfect scene. She ultimately lost the case and was forced to pay the lawsuit bills. Despite these deaths, one of the very first actors who worked on a Marlboro campaign, William Thourlby lived through to 2012 at the age at 88. However, Thourlby, who was a Broadway actor, was not a smoker or a drinker.

The four Marlboro Men's death will act as reminders of the dangers of tobacco smoking. Even though there is more evidence against smoking and more anti-smoking campaigns today, there are still too many smokers. Getting more smokers to quit and stopping the youth from starting are important goals for the global world.

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