You may have heard the sad news recently about actor Leonard Nimoy's passing. The man who was widely known as playing the Star Trek character, Mr. Spock, was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and died from complications of the disease on February 27th, 2015.
He used his fame to spread the message about the disease, raise awareness of the severity of COPD, and urged his fans and followers on Twitter to stop smoking. He went public with his diagnosis on the social network in January 2014, and had this to say:
"I quit smoking 30 years ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP"
Of course the "LLAP" is the abbreviation for the Star Trek Vulcan blessing: "Live Long and Prosper", but his message was straight to the point and clear: Stop smoking before you increase your risk of developing this dangerous and debilitating lung disease. You might quit smoking and think that you're in the clear, but COPD can still develop as you age and your overall health begins to slowly decline.
You lungs, along with the rest of your body, becomes more susceptible to all kinds of ailments as you age. That's why it's so important to not only continue living a healthy lifestyle as we get older, but to start doing so when we are young. Not smoking at all, and staying away from secondhand smoke is ideal for preventing COPD.
Leonard Nimoy's message to his Twitter followers is hopefully a good wake up call for young people (who may have taken an interest in Star Trek after the new movies came out), as well as older people who have started smoking, to quit as soon as possible.
Thankfully, there is a lot to be known about COPD now than there was even 30 years ago. There are also plenty more options to help you quit smoking, such as nicotine patches and gum, smoking cessation hotlines and support, as well as the newer electronic cigarettes.
Even more alarming, is the fact that it's not uncommon to develop COPD after quitting decades before. Damage caused to the lungs from smoking cigarettes is a process, and once you've started that process, it can keep going.
Even so, the sooner you quit, the better. Nimoy was able to live well without failing health for 30 years after quitting smoking. The COPD may have showed up sooner had he not quit when he did. No matter what, even if you have already been diagnosed with COPD, quitting smoking will still only add years and quality to your life.
Nimoy was also honest on Twitter about his attempt to start smoking again. The Tweet was dated February 12th, 2014:
"I tried to "smoke a little". Failed. I finally learned I cannot smoke at all. Quitting isn't easy. I went thru a program. Now FREE. LLAP"
It's not uncommon to fall back into an old habit, but you shouldn't let that discourage you. The important thing is that you quit and stay off of them, even if you have to quit again.