Leonard Nimoy’s widow is urging current smokers to quit now before they come down with the same lung disease that killed her husband.
In a new commercial for the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign, Susan Nimoy explained that the actor had ‘chronic breathing difficulties for as long as I knew him.’
She added that Nimoy was always convinced that he would die of lung cancer, but not from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of diseases that include emphysema and bronchitis, especially years after he had quit.
‘You always think you have more time than you do, and you really don’t,’ Susan warns as the video ends.
Leonard Nimoy’s widow Susan (pictured) appeared in a new commercial for the CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign to warn current smokers to quit
Nimoy, who is best known for his role as Spock in the Star Trek franchise, smoked for 37 years before he quit in 1985. In 2013, he was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease after years of having trouble breathing while walking and persistent coughing. Pictured: Nimoy in Star Trek, left, and near the end of his life, right
Nimoy, who is best known for his role as Spock in the Star Trek franchise, began smoking as a teenager and continued for 37 years, Susan told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an interview.
He tried – and failed – to quit several times, but finally did so in 1985 when his first grandson was born and he was worried about the harm of secondhand smoke.
However, the decades-worth of smoking had severely damaged Nimoy’s lungs. He had trouble breathing while walking and had a persistent cough.
In 2013, he was diagnosed with COPD, despite giving up smoking 28 years prior.
COPD is a group of diseases, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, that block the airways and cause breathing problems.
Early stages usually show few to no symptoms, but later stages include symptoms such as a lingering cough, shortness of breath and wheezing.
Additionally, glucose, which is normally pumped into the bloodstream to fight infections, leaks into the airways. This leads to infections by providing food for bacteria.
According to the CDC, nearly 16 million US adults have been diagnosed with COPD – with nearly 40 percent being current smokers.
There is currently no cure, so physicians recommend lifestyle changes and treatments such as medication and supplemental oxygen.
Doctors tried to ease Nimoy’s symptoms by prescribing him new medications, giving him stationary and portable oxygen and even physical therapy.
But Susan told the CDC that as Nimoy’s condition worsened, he couldn’t walk more than 100 feet before running out of breath.
‘The last month, where he had to go to [the emergency room] three times, it was traumatic for both of us,’ Susan said. ‘Really excruciatingly scary.’
COPD is a group of diseases that block the airways and cause breathing problems, and is mostly caused by smoking. Pictured: Nimoy, right, and Susan on their wedding day
Nimoy was prescribed new medications and given oxygen but his condition worsened and he died from COPD complications in February 2015 at age 83. Pictured: Nimoy, right, and Susan, date unknown
During the last years of his life, Nimoy became a staunch anti-smoking advocate, especially on Twitter, where he urged his follower to quit smoking. Pictured: Nimoy as Spock, right, and Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike, left, in Star Trek, 1965
The actor became a staunch anti-smoking advocate, especially on Twitter, where he urged his followers to quit smoking.
‘I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!!’ he wrote in January 2014 when he first publicly revealed his diagnosis.
He then signed off with ‘LLAP’, an abbreviation of Spock’s infamous phrase: ‘Live Long and Prosper’.
Another tweet from January 2015 read: ‘Don’t smoke. I did. Wish I never had. LLAP.’
In February 2015, Nimoy fell into a coma and died two days later in his home in Bel Air from COPD complications.
The new commercial featuring Susan, which was released on April 1, has been viewed nearly 4,000 times on Facebook and YouTube.
According to the CDC, its Tips From Former Smokers campaign has helped more than nine million Americans try to quit smoking and helped 500,000 quit smoking for good between 2012 and 2015.