David Goerlitz, whose macho good looks earned him thousands as a model for Winston cigarettes, has turned on the tobacco industry's attempts to make smoking look pretty.
He said his 3 1/2-pack-a-day smoking habit led to a stroke.
"I was paid $2,500 a day to hang off this mountain to make (smoking) look rugged and make it look successful, make it look prosperous, make it look wonderful," the 40-year-old Goerlitz said Wednesday. "All these ads are nothing more than mere lies."
Goerlitz, the "Winston man" from 1981 to 1987, was the headliner for a forum on New York's new statewide smoking law, which took effect Jan. 1 and prohibits smoking in auditoriums, elevators, gymnasiums, food stores, shared taxicabs and limousines.
Goerlitz showed several of the poster ads he made while a model for R. J. Reynolds, which makes Winstons.
"I'm not proud of this part of my life, folks," Goerlitz said. "I'm not proud of who I am in these ads."
Many schoolchildren were in the audience to hear his presentation.
"What you don't see is the man behind the myth . . . being paid $75,000 to $100,000 a year to glamorize a product that I was addicted to for 23 years," he said.
Goerlitz said the stroke has taken away feeling in his left leg and the left side of his face and has robbed him of his ability to taste food.