Star Trek fans were concerned to see pictures of Spock, otherwise known as actor Leonard Nimoy, in a wheelchair with an oxygen mask. Nimoy detailed on Twitter what had happened: He's been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which he blames on his smoking, even though he quit 30 years ago.
I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) January 30, 2014
Smokers, please understand. If you quit after you're diagnosed with lung damage it's too late. Grandpa says learn my lesson. Quit now. LLAP.— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 6, 2014
COPD can describe a wide array of lung diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis. Symptoms include:
Tightness in the chest
Nimoy says the COPD has slowed him down, and he can't walk distances, hence his wheelchair.
We heard recently that quitting smoking before you're 40 means you could live as long as a non-smoker, but Nimoy, who is 82, would have been about 52 when he quit. It also sounds like he was told he had lung damage before he quit. Still, it's bizarre and scary to think that not having smoked for 30 years could still give you a smoking-related lung disease.
Just another reason that if you're a smoker, you should try to quit NOW. Go to Smokefree.gov to learn how.
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Image via Jason Lavers/Getty