Category Archives: COPD

More on Leonard Nimoy’s death — COPD fundraiser and Leonard’s tweets

Leonard Nimoy’s family to raise funds for COPD Foundation


leonard Nimoy shirt

Leonard Nimoy’s granddaughter, who has an online retail store dedicated to her grandfather, announced she will have special Live Long and Prosper shirts available (, ) to raise money specifically for the COPD Foundation.

His granddaughter, Dani Schwartz announced:

“Hi all, as you all know, my Grandpa passed away this morning at 8:40 from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” Schwartz wrote. “He was an extraordinary man, husband, grandfather, brother, actor, author — the list goes on — and friend. Thank you for the warm condolences. May you all LLAP.”

CBS collects Leonard Nimoy’s anti-smoking tweets, including a secret message in Star Trek IV

Screen capture from “Star Trek IV”


CBS collected a bunch of tweets Nimoy made urging people to quit smoking during the final year of his life. Nimoy disclosed in February 2014 he had COPD caused by smoking 30 years ago.
Nimoy only took to Twitter to promote his granddaughter’s online business selling Leonard Nimoy T-shirts and other products.
Here was the tweet that cracked me up the most. From Star Trek IV, a movie Nimoy directed. In a brief scene, an Earth-bound character is wearing a big button that reads: “I Quit Smoking.” Nimoy disclosed he purposely sneaked that into the movie. I never knew that before.
nimoy tweet


Leonard Nimoy dies of COPD


Sad, sad news. I had a bad feeling a few days ago when I read a story that Leonard Nimoy was ill.

Leonard Nimoy died today at the age of 83 after battling COPD. In an interview on Piers Morgan roughly a year ago, Nimoy disclosed that he had been diagnosed with COPD. His voice was more gravelly than usual and several times he had to stop and clear his voice. It was obvious he was in a deep stage of it. If you watch the video, you will notice that he has an oxygen apparatus on the table in front of him, but that he was able to talk several minutes without it.

He spoke about smoking. He smoked at least two packs a day, calling himself an “Olympic championship smoker,” talked about how when he was in the military, representatives from the tobacco industry actually gave away cigarettes to the soldiers, talked about the old Camel doctor ads. He also quit 30 years ago, but he was one of the unlucky ones who still developed COPD.

Nimoy’s message: “It’s not too early to quit. The damage is being done right now to your lung cells.” Don’t wait five years, don’t wait 10 years. Quit now.

In the Piers Morgan interview, he said his initial reaction after being diagnosed was dismay.

“This is unfair. I quit a long time ago. Why is this happening to me?” Nimoy said.

It is unfair. Nimoy spent the last year or so of his life speaking out against tobacco and smoking. He had a goof life, cut short too soon, but lived it well.

I think as kids, Mr. Spock was everyone’s favourite character on Star Trek. He was certainly the most interesting. I can’t watch the old episodes without busting up laughing at the cheesy dialogue and William Shatner’s even cheesier acting. All that being said, Spock and Nimoy still bring a dignity to the show that has held up over the years.

Leonard’s final Tweet, a few days before he died:

A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP (Live Long and Prosper)


Really awkward and uncomfortable ad for COPD medication Symbicort

I saw this ad in National Geographic, and frankly, I just kind of blanched when I saw it.

I get the point. It’s an ad for Symbicort, which aids in breathing for people dealing with COPD. It’s a drawing of the Big Bad Wolf trying to burn down the pigs’ house, but he can’t because he has COPD. (There is also a television commercial with the same motif that I have never seen)

That part isn’t too weird, but what bothered me, was a depiction of the three little pigs laughing at the wolf with COPD. It made me think they’re making fun of someone strugging to breathe because of their COPD.

I dunno, maybe I’m reading too much into it and being anal retentive about it, but it bugged me. It didn’t outrage me, it didn’t infuriate me (Like Rand Paul blaming cigarette taxes for Eric Garner’s death). The depiction of people laughing at someone with COPD simply bothered me. On every level imaginable, COPD is not a joke and it’s not funny. It came off tone deaf and awkward.

Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds lose another $41 million settlement, this one for giving a person COPD

camelTobacco giants Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds lost another major settlement this week in Florida.

This case is one of the thousands of Engle cases winding their way through the Florida courts. R.J. Reynolds will appeal this verdict (oh, yes they will) but several of these verdicts have been upheld by appeals courts.

The Engle cases stem from a huge $145 billion class-action judgement in 2000. In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court overturned that settlement, but made an important decision to allow individual lawsuits against tobacco companies. Since then, several thousand lawsuits have been filed against tobacco companies, primarily Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds and Lorrilard, and judgements ranging between a few million to $23.6 billion have been handed down by juries (I believe that $23.6 billion judgement will get tossed on appeal as excessive … when I Googled it, Google asked me “do you mean $23.6 million?”).

According to the article:

Attorney Kenneth Byrd of the Nashville office of national plaintiffs’ law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, announced that a jury in federal court in Florida today returned a verdict of $41.1 million against Philip Morris USA Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for conspiring for decades to conceal the hazards of smoking and the addictive nature of cigarettes. The jury award consists of $15.8 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages in the amounts of $15.7 million against Philip Morris and $9.6 million against R.J. Reynolds.

“The cigarette industry argues that as Engle class members and their spouses die, their lawsuits die with them. We will continue working night and day to see that these class members get their day in Court.”

Interesting that was in federal court, I’m positive other Florida cases were in state courts.

This case is also a little unusual because most of these Engle cases at this point are being filed by relatives of people who died from lung cancer. This one was filed by the smoker, who is still alive and is suffering from COPD, not lung cancer. I believe that’s the first major judgement I’ve seen against a tobacco company for its role in giving a person COPD. I’m sure there’s been some, I just don’t remember ever coming across a story about it until now.

According to the article:

“At trial Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds sought to place all the blame on Mr. Kerrivan for becoming addicted to nicotine as a teenager in a time when the defendants widely marketed smoking cigarettes using celebrities and famous athletes and advertised on television shows popular with children and teenagers. Thankfully, the jury rejected this defense and held Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds accountable for their decision to target an entire generation of post-World War II American teenagers with a lifetime addiction to nicotine,” stated Mr. Byrd. “The cigarette industry argues that as Engle class members and their spouses die, their lawsuits die with them. We will continue working night and day to see that these class members get their day in Court.”

New technology helps COPD patients


This is an interesting story about new technology that can allow doctors and clinics to electronically monitor what is going on with COPD patients’ bodies.

According to this USA Today story, the sensor itself isn’t the new technology, it’s sending the patient’s biometric data to the Cloud via a wireless device, where it can be checked by a doctor or clinic. If they start seeing readings that are dangerous, the patient is warned to get themselves to a doctor.

I know from having a relative with COPD how quickly things can change with the condition and how quickly lung function can deteriorate.

According to the article:

According to Philips, physical activity and inactivity, respiratory function, heart rhythm, and heart rate variability are all monitored. The data is then retrievable via two apps: Philips eCareCompanion and eCareCoordinator, making it possible for doctors to monitor patients remotely.

“Instead of people just going to the hospital when things have deteriorated—they’re so short of breath or it becomes life-threatening—[the information] is coming in way ahead,” says Jeroen Tas, CEO of the Philips Healthcare Informatics Solutions and Services business group.


New lungs grown in a lab — cure for COPD someday?


An interesting and slightly bizarre story last week (behind a bit on this one, meant to post about it, then forgot).

Scientists, using stem cells, successfully grew a pair of human lungs, using one “stripped down” lung of collagen as a “scaffold.” They then painted the scaffold with cells from another lung (these lungs were harvested from children who likely were killed in a traffic accident), and grew a functioning lung.

“In terms of different cell types, the lung is probably the most complex of all organs – the cells near the entrance are very different from those deep in the lung,” UTMB researcher Dr. Joaquin Cortiella said.

“People ask us why we’re doing the lung, because it’s so hard. But the potential is so great, and the technology is here. It’s going to take time, but I think we’re going to create a system that works.”

This story specifically mentions that perhaps lungs can be grown for people with cystic fibrosis or COPD, but that transplants using grown lungs might be as far as 12 years away because of the need for considerable more testing (such as transplanting grown lungs in the bodies of animals to make sure they function.)

Exciting news. Slightly weird, but exciting.


Leonard Nimoy discusses his COPD with Piers Morgan


“I was an Olympic championship smoker.”

Sounding gravelly, this is what Leonard Nimoy tells Piers Morgan of CNN in an interview about his COPD diagnosis. Nimoy disclosed this week that he has COPD, though he has not smoked in 30 years. I notice Nimoy has an oxygen apparatus on the table in front of him during the interview.

Nimoy emphasizes that it’s “never too early to quit.” He quit after a 30-year smoking habit, and it took 30 years for the COPD to show up.

“The damage is being done right now. Every day you light up a cigarette, you’re losing cells in your lungs,” Nimoy said. Never were wiser words spoken.

Nimoy said he was smoking two packs a day. He talks about the insane smoking advertising of his day — doctors actually endorsing cigarettes; and he also talks about how physically addicting cigarettes are and how difficult it was for him to stop. He also talks about how much cigarettes were ingrained into the culture 50, 60 years ago.

“It was part of my culture. My guys, my gang…”

A brave man facing a huge challenge. Live long and prospier, Leonard.


Leonard Nimoy announces he has COPD


Leonard Nimoy announced yesterday he has COPD and put out a statement urging people to please quit smoking. Here is a more lengthy CNN article.

Nimoy, sent out a tweet: “I quit smoking 30 yrs ago. Not soon enough. I have COPD. Grandpa says, quit now!! LLAP (Live Long and Prosper, obviously)”

Part of the deviousness of smoking … even if you quit, the damage it does can come back to haunt you decades later. It’s heartbreaking that someone does the right thing … and still develops lung diseases years later. The best way to avoid that damage is to never start smoking to begin with.

Leonard Nimoy says he is feeling OK, but just cannot walk long distances. He issued his announcement after he was seen at an airport being pushed in a wheelchair and with a breathing tube. I know from personal experience they can do a lot to repair the damage done by COPD; they can’t cure it or make it go away, but they can get the lungs functioning better with various medications; I wish Nimoy the best.

Yet another Marlboro Man dies from smoking


Incredible, yet another “Marlboro Man” dies from smoking. By my count, that makes four.

Eric Lawson, who portrayed the iconic Marlboro Man cowboy in Marlboro ads from 1978 to 1981, died this week of COPD at the relatively young age of 72. He appeared in anti-smoking ads after he worked for Philip Morris.

Lawson joins Marlboro Men models Wayne McLaren, Dick Hammer and David McLean, all of whom died of lung cancer. McLaren testified in favour of anti-smoking laws many years ago and Philip Morris tried to claim he was never a Marlboro Man model, but McLaren still had pay stubs calling him the Marlboro Man (what, a tobacco company LYING…?)