Can modern smokers blame the devious advertising of tobacco companies for their inability to quit smoking? After all, those catchy slogans have beguiled billions over the decades: You’ve come a long way baby; I’d walk a mile for a Camel; Winston tastes good like a cigarette should! And perhaps the worst of the lot: More doctors smoke Camels.
The Marlboro Man campaign that used real cowboys as models was such an astounding hit that it ran for thirty years, from the 60s all the way into the 90s. One of those cowboy gods was Wayne McLaren, who died of lung cancer in 1992. Before he passed on, McLaren appeared in a television spot showing him in a hospital bed. An earlier shot of him as the drop-dead gorgeous tough guy who’d sold millions of cancer sticks was juxtaposed over this shot, even as a voiceover detailed the dangers of smoking. Impossible to adequately express my admiration for men like this — humble enough to admit their mistakes even at the bitter end, and who spread the true word about nicotine — that eventually it kills, agonizingly and humiliatingly. The great actor John Huston, father of Angelica Huston, was another such hero. Continue reading