An irreversible effect of smoking strikes Mr. Spock

By ACSH Staff — Feb 10, 2014
Leonard Nimoy, now 82 years old, revealed that he has been diagnosed with COPD, although he quit smoking 30 years ago. His symptoms are mild, thankfully, but they may progress further. The message: if you smoke, quit. If you don't, don't start!

Live Long and Prosper, LeonardA few days ago, Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for his classic portrayal of the emotion-challenged half-Vulcan first officer on the USS Enterprise, Mr. Spock (or just Spock if you re in Starfleet Command), announced that he had been diagnosed with COPD: chronic obstructive pulmonary (lung) disease.

"I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP," the actor tweeted. (The sign-off represents Spock s Vulcan salutation, Live Long and Prosper.)

Subsequent tweets supplied a little more information:

Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you're diagnosed with lung damage it's too late. Grandpa says learn my lesson. Quit now. I'm doing OK. Just can't walk distances ¦.

The 82-year-oldMr. Nimoy, who has been very active and generous in the NYC arts scene since he left Hollywood some decades ago, is right on target regarding the cause and course of COPD: over 90 percent of cases are directly related to cigarette smoking, and once it starts, it tends to be progressive. This little-known but often tragic fact is well-described in ACSH s 1999 (but still classic) publication, The Irreversible Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking.

ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross said, I can t say it any better than Mr. Nimoy: smokers, quit! I d add, to everyone, if you never start, your chances of LLAP are much higher than smoking for even a few years, so don t pick up that first cigarette!

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