Marlboro man dies in SLO from lung disease

January 27, 2014
Eric Lawson

Eric Lawson

Former “Marlboro Man” Eric Lawson died earlier this month in San Luis Obispo of respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), his wife Susan Lawson announced over the weekend. He was 72.

According to Variety, Lawson started smoking at the age of 14 and quit after he was diagnosed with COPD. His wife told Variety that he knew cigarettes had a hold on him, “yet he still couldn’t stop.”

Though best know for his “Marlboro Man” ads that ran from 1978 to 1981, Lawson also had roles on a number of TV shows including Baretta, The Streets of San Francisco, Dynasty and Baywatch.


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Drive around Cal Poly and count the kids who smoke, I am amazed at how stupid supposedly intelligent people can be, and how do they justify spending that much money on something they are going to burn up!? I had somebody in front of me checking out of Costco with maybe a dozen cartons of cigarettes and the checker says “that will be $650 please.

The global tobacco cartel has upped the levels of nicotine in the product to make it as addicting as allowed by law.

I remember reading an article in 1969 about the REAL Marlboro Man the the mouth and esophageal cancer he had to battle, all the while as the world glamorized smoking as the “manly” thing to do. Oh, we come a long way baby…or have we?

A very valuable lesson for those contemplating taking up the habit.

Sorry to hear of this guy’s passing but when I saw the headline I was expecting to see that the guy that rode off into the sunset on December 31, 1969 when TV advertising of cigarettes was banned.