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Smoking related respiratory disease kills Marlboro Man Eric Lawson

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American actor Eric Lawson, who interpreted Marlboro Man in advertisement campaigns in the late 1970s, died on January 10 of smoking related causes, at the age of 72.

Unfortunately, he is the thrid actor to die in connection to smoking after having previously portrayed the iconic cigarette-puffing cowboy.

His wife Susan Lawson told the media that the cause of her husband's death was a respiratory failure caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Lawson, who in his career interpreted many small parts on TV shows and programs, started smoking cigarettes aged 14.

He modelled for the Marlboro advertisement campaigns from 1978 to 1981 but later on he appeared in an anti-smoking commercial – portraying a parody of Marlboro man himself- and also discussed the negative effects of smoking in an “Entertainment Tonight” segment.

His career was low key but prolific, with minor roles in TV programs such “Baretta” and “The Streets of San Francisco”, “Charlie’s Angels”, “Dynasty” and “Baywatch”.

According to his wife, his acting career terminated in 1997 due to injuries sustained on the set of a western film.

The iconic Marlboro cigarette puffing cowboy was conceived in 1954 in order to promote filtered cigarettes as manly, in a time when they were in fact considered feminine and normally marketed at women.

Amongst the other former Marlboro Man to have incurred into serious smoking related health problems are David Millar, who died of emphysema in 1987, and David McLean, who died of lung cancer in 1995.

Mr Lawson died at his home in California’s San Luis Obispo, and his survived by his wife Susan, six children, eighteen grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

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