“ Live long and prosper” is the kind of phrase those of us of a certain age will remember, along with the one who first spoke it. Leonard Nimoy whose iconic character, Mr. Spock, came to us from the planet Vulcan and the imagination of Gene Roddenberry, will remain a science fiction staple. Nimoy passed away recently at the age of 83. It is impossible for me not to feel a sense of loss at Nimoy’s passing.

By all accounts Mr. Nimoy died at his home from end stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and so joins a long list of famous entertainers, such a Johnny Carson and recently Leslie Gore, who have died of this terrible disease proving once again that occupation or station in life will not protect you from this disease. About 15% of middle aged and old adults in the US have some form of lung obstruction such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

This number has not really changed in recent years. Over half of the adults with any airway obstruction complained of shortness of breath, wheezing, cough and mucous production. Most had more than one symptom. The most common predisposing cause of COPD is cigarette smoking. COPD remains the third most common cause of death in the US and is frequently associated with many other diseases, particularly heart disease and cancer. Let us all learn from the many famous and not so famous people who have died from COPD. Stop smoking and live longer and prosper.