Monday, January 27, 2014


 The rugged face of Marlboro Cigarettes from 1972 through to 1981 has joined the great ashtray in the heavens.

Eric Lawson died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) last night.

Lawson joins a slew of other  “Malboro Men” who have died from smoking related illnesses. David McLean, David Millar, Dick Hammer and Wayne McLaren Lawson worked on Marlboro cigarette commercials and died from smoking related illnesses.

Lawson was a television actor with roles on Baretta, Charlie’s Angels, The Waltons and Walker: Texas Ranger and other programs.

After his retirement Lawson appeared in an anti-smoking advertisement lampooning the original Marlboro Man commercials.

Did you ever see the movie Thank You For Smoking? The movie is a spoof about the lobby industry, particular the merchants of death representing the alcohol, cigarette and gun industries. The movie takes the viewer through the spin, advertising and product placement techniques used to make the killer sexy and palatable to the public.

At one point, the main protagonist – a lobbyist for the smoking industry - Nick Naylor, pays a call on a former Marlboro Man who is dying of cancer and speaking out bitterly against cigarettes. He offers him a briefcase full of $100 bills. The dying man eyes the money and wonders if he could maybe take half of it and cut back on his attacks. Nick explains with genuine regret that it doesn't work that way. Once you're on board, you're along for the ride.

I don’t have to look far to see how hard the grip cigarettes can have on some people. My mother has smoked since she was a teenager. Despite giving it up a number of times, she cannot seem to beat the habit, despite her poor health. It is frustrating to watch.

Everyone knows that cigarettes can kill you. Despite the anti-smoking campaigns the sale of cigarettes continues to make these companies and governments billions of dollars.

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