BOSTON -- David Goerlitz, the actor who starred as the 'Winston Man' in a long-running television advertising campaign, warned elementary school children Wednesday to stay away from cigarettes.
Goerlitz, 32, who said he stopped smoking three years after suffering a stroke in 1985, spoke to the students at the Statehouse just before appearing at a legislative hearing on a variety of anti-smoking bills.
He told the students that tobacco industry advertising is brutally deceptive.
'They need you to start smoking and they need you to be confused,' he said. 'You are targetted by models who get paid lots of money to get you confused. For many years, we advertized a product that kills. Telling the truth is all we can do.'
Goerlitz urged the Massachusetts Legislature's Health Care Committee to approve bills aimed at improving anti-smoking campaigns and funding preventative health care programs with money raised though increased cigarette taxes.
'I'm a bimbo who was paid lots of money to get children to smoke,' he told the committee. 'I was an arrogant, egotistical, powerful individual who was only interested in money. I'd rather save lives now than take them.'
He said he was paid $100,000 a year to do the ad campaign.