Sunday, May 28, 2006

Death of the Marlboro Man

In April, my roommate and I went to see the film Thank You For Smoking, a satirical comedy portraying Big Tobacco. At one point in the film, Big Tobacco lobbyist Nick Naylor, the protagonist of the film, visits the ranch of the original Marlboro man, Lorne Lutch, in order to bribe him into remaining silent about his lung cancer which had been caused by smoking.

As I explored today I noticed the legend of the death of the original Marlboro man and was immediately reminded of Thank You For Smoking. There apparently have been several Marlboro Men over the years, two of which have allegedly died from lung cancer: Wayne McLaren and David McLean. I find it easy to believe that men who were paid to smoke and pose with cigarettes (as we know full well now how bad cigarettes are for us) would die of lung cancer, therefore displaying why this urban legend was so widespread. According to, this urban legend is not an urban legend, but actually the truth. McLaren died from lung cancer in 1992 at the age of 51 and McLean died three years later at the age of 73. Both men claimed to have been addicted to cigarettes and were unable to quit; in fact, Phillip Morris (the Big Tobacco firm that hired them as spokesmodels) sent them numerous packs of cigarettes over the years. McLaren, McLean and their families believed that their lung cancer and subsequent deaths were caused by their addiction to cigarettes.

To read more about it, visit this link!


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