Smoking easily kills even Marlboro cowboys

At one time he was the most famous smoker on the planet. Wayne McLaren - the person advertising Marlboro, a dashing cowboy on a horse with a cigarette, was the image of a man in control of his life, who could do anything and who had no problems. However, he did have problems. Twenty years ago, in July of 1992, 52-year-old McLaren died of lung cancer caused by smoking.

He was called a "Marlboro cowboy." Having increased the sales of cigarettes of the brand to unprecedented heights, he spent the rest of his life to fight the tobacco companies. Prior to cigarette advertising, McLaren worked as an actor, model, stunt man and rodeo rider. By chance he got involved with the famous campaign of Marlboro cigarettes that made him rich and famous.

He smoked two to three packs a day, but after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 1990, McLaren became an active member of the public movement against smoking. Chemotherapy and removal of a lung has not stopped the cancer: the disease has spread throughout his body, and metastasis caused damage to his brain. Two years after the diagnosis, shortly before his 52nd birthday, he died.

In 1953, scientists in the United States officially declared that smoking caused lung cancer. This statement shocked smokers, and the tobacco companies had to quickly rectify the situation. In 1953, tobacco consumption has declined in the U.S. for the first time in the country's history. The owner of the Marlboro logo and a large tobacco company, businessman Philip Morris began to think quickly how to eliminate a fear of smoking. He needed to attach a face to his brand.

One of the posters of the time portrayed a child and a slogan: "Dad, you always get the best, even Marlboro". There was yet another radical innovation: Marlboro cigarettes were the world first filtered cigarettes. Advertisers reported that a filter would help prevent lung cancer and other unpleasant diseases. Advertisers exploited several images, ranging from a rugged sailor to a high-altitude builder to a war correspondent. All of them, of course, looked courageously and smoked Marlboro. The image of a cowboy was the most successful, and the one the advertisers started using. America was reminded that it was built by these brutal guys. So why be afraid?

Cigarette sales have soared: after the first advertising campaign with the "cowboy," the brand ranked fourth in the market. Philip Morris came up with another innovation: a hard cardboard package with a hinged lid. It was easier to get cigarettes out of the new pack than a soft one without a lid, which created the campaign of "ease and practicality." A "masculine logo" was invented with a white strip literally "driven into" the red one. In other words, cigarettes have become a symbol of masculinity and sexuality.

This is when Wayne McLaren appeared on stage. It happened in 1964. He announced from TV screens that the filter would protect against all possible diseases, but did not alter the taste of cigarettes. McLaren appealed to viewers with a smug grin, "Welcome to Marlboro Country".

It seems that he believed what he was saying on TV: filter cigarettes are harmless. Two or three packs a day for McLaren was the norm. He learned about his health issues a few years before his death. He was diagnosed with nicotine lung cancer. He survived chemotherapy, radiation therapy, amputation of one lung, but it did not help.

In his later years he became a shining example of the consequences of smoking. In the two years before his death, Wayne McLaren became an active participant in the campaign against nicotine. Before his death, he managed to play a role in a video that has become super popular. In the video he stated that he regretted his destructive habit.

Wayne McLaren is believed to have initiated a large-scale anti-tobacco campaign around the world. The great promoter of smoking became a great advocate of a healthy lifestyle. This struggle continues, albeit with varying degrees of success.

In conclusion, there are a few numbers related to smoking. 90 percent of deaths from lung cancer, 75 percent of deaths from chronic bronchitis and 25 percent from coronary heart disease are due to smoking. Every ten seconds a heavy smoker dies on the planet (in 2020, this level could rise to one person every three seconds).

In Russia, at least one in ten women is a smoker, and among high school students 53 percent of boys and 28 percent of girls are smokers. 50-60 percent of Russian men can be called heavy smokers (among some categories this number reaches 95 percent). Smoking and diseases caused by them annually result in death of at least one million citizens of Russia.

According to sociologists, 12 percent of the respondents believe that quitting smoking is easy, 56 think that it is difficult, four percent believe that it is impossible, and 28 percent do not think about it. At the same time 21 percent of those surveyed tried to quit smoking, but mostly unsuccessfully. 47 percent of Russian citizens consider smoking a bad habit, 38 percent believe it to be an addiction, nine percent - an incurable disease, and six percent of respondents were unable to determine their attitudes to smoking. 

Smoking poses other threats in addition to health risks. According to statistics, a lit cigarette is one of the most common causes of household and industrial fires. It is no accident that a new anti-fire measure was implemented in the European countries. The European Union imposed a strict ban on "long-lasting" cigarettes. This means that all cigarettes sold in stores must be self-extinguishing. This measure is designed to reduce the number of fires that occur due to unattended lit cigarettes.

Cigarette producers were mandated to use paper that is difficult to ignite. It is not yet clear what this measure brings, but the goal is a plausible one.

Andrei Mikhailov


Read the original in Russian 

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov