A new ad series encouraging smokers to quit has appeared on television (in fact I saw one of them the day before coming across this news), and online. Included among the three dozen participants is Leonard Nimoy‘s wife Susan, who explains what life was like with COPD for Leonard.
According to his story on the CDC‘s website for the campaign, “Leonard Nimoy started smoking cigarettes as a teenager because he thought they were ‘cool.’ The American actor best known for his iconic role as Spock on the popular television and film series, Star Trek, smoked for thirty-seven years.
“‘I’d tell people I was an Olympic championship smoker,’ Leonard said. ‘If there had been a championship in the addiction, I could have qualified.’
“Leonard tried several times to quit. Then, in 1985, his first grandchild was born. Concerned that secondhand smoke from his cigarettes would harm the baby, Leonard found the motivation he needed. Drawing from lessons he learned from previous quit attempts, Leonard eventually stopped smoking completely.”
But even though he stopped, there had been damage from the smoking that manifested itself years later. “[Nimoy] had a persistent cough, lingering bronchitis, and shortness of breath when walking or exercising. In 2013, Leonard was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“COPD is a condition that makes it harder and harder to breathe and can cause death. It refers to a group of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, which cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. Most cases of COPD are caused by smoking.
“Leonard focused on managing his COPD symptoms through medication, oxygen, and physical therapy. Over time, however, Leonard became weaker and more oxygen-dependent. His body couldn’t clear infections, and he was hospitalized several times.
“In 2015, Leonard Nimoy died from COPD. Through his family’s endorsement, Leonard’s story lives on as part of the Tips From Former Smokers campaign.”
Below are two videos from the campaign; Traumatic for Both of Us, and More Time. In the videos, his widow Susan narrates.