An actor who portrayed the rugged Marlboro Man in cigarette adverts has died at the age of 72.
Eric Lawson died of respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), on 10 January.
Despite smoking from the age of 14, Lawson appeared in an anti-smoking advert parodying the Malboro Man and an Entertainment Tonight episode to discuss the negative effects of smoking, AP reports.
Eric Lawson died on 10 January at his home in California
Lawson’s wife Susan said he had been proud of the interview though he was smoking at the time and continued until he was diagnosed with COPD.
“He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him,” she said. “He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.”
Lawson is the latest in a “substantial” line of models and actors that worked on Malboro adverts who have died from smoking-related illnesses, Liberty Voice writes.
“David McLean, David Millar, Dick Hammer and Wayne McLaren – whom Philip Morris, the makers of Marlboro, denied was ever a ‘Marlboro Man’ per se are some of the other male performers who have died from smoking related illnesses,” it adds.
The main cause of COPD is smoking, the NHS states online. It adds:
"The likelihood of developing COPD increases the more you smoke and the longer you've been smoking. This is because smoking irritates and inflames the lungs, which results in scarring.
Over many years, the inflammation leads to permanent changes in the lung. The walls of the airways thicken and more mucus is produced. Damage to the delicate walls of the air sacs in the lungs causes emphysema and the lungs lose their normal elasticity. The smaller airways also become scarred and narrowed. These changes cause the symptoms of breathlessness, cough and phlegm associated with COPD.
Some cases of COPD are caused by fumes, dust, air pollution and genetic disorders, but these are rarer."