It’s worse than that, he’s dead, Jim.

It really hurts to have to say anything bad about Spock. I grew up with Star Trek and marvelled at how, no matter which planet they visited, they always sought out an identical spot to beam down to.

Kirk shagging his way through the universe, Bones and his ‘Dammit, I’m a doctor, not a [insert alternative profession]’. My favourite will always be the time Bones was asked to help a silicon-based life form that seemed to be made of rock. ‘Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a bricklayer.’

There was Scotty, the engineer charged with looking after Starfleet’s most appalling rustbucket. The engines broke every week but he always managed to patch it back together. Sometimes I still wonder if their ‘five year mission’ was really a means of getting this band of idiots out of Starfleet’s way.

‘Which ship shall we give them?’

‘Just grab one from the condemned pile and give it a coat of paint. With any luck they won’t make it back’.

What growing teen could forget Uhura’s almost-a-skirt? Every time she swivelled that chair the entire male teen population leaned forward. Almost… Maybe next time.

Spock was the top of the list though. Logical, implacable, impervious to just about everything and he had mind-meld and the Vulcan neck pinch too. Where Kirk was squaring up for a fight, Spock just casually put his hand on the enemy’s shoulder and down they went.

Leonard Nimoy’s characterisation of Spock was always the best part of that show. It was sad to hear of his passing. And yet… and yet… I have to take issue with some of his pronouncements.

He was diagnosed with COPD thirty years after he gave up smoking. Thirty years. He firmly believed that his smoking caused the disease.

Well maybe it did. I never met him nor his doctors, but my bet is that it was the medical world who drummed that into him. ‘You have a smoking related disease because you last smoked thirty years ago’.

COPD could be caused by many things in the air now. Those 2000+ nuclear explosions might just be involved. All the fuel burned by all the road, sea and air traffic could have some part to play. All of these increased during the 30 years between Spock’s last cigarette and his diagnosis. The one thing that decreased – to zero – was his tobacco consumption.

To ignore the rising air pollution and blame a diagnosis on something that last affected your life 30 years ago… sorry, Spock, I’m going to have to say it.

It is llogical.

RIP anyway, Mr. Nimoy, and I hope you get your pointy ears and tricorder back in the afterlife. It would be only fair and just.


37 thoughts on “It’s worse than that, he’s dead, Jim.

  1. I agree… it’s sad that the docs did that to him. He probably had enough of the Antis’ message drummed into him that he was susceptible to the idea that “Look, you could help a lot of kids who admire you if you blame this on your smoking.” That 30 year lag looked pretty suspicious to me too. I don’t think I’ve ever read any research on long-term COPD post-smoking statistics. I don’t know if there IS any, though there may be. The problem is whether such research would be clean or fabricated: we just can’t trust such things anymore in this area.



    • When the docs blame any disease on ‘well you smoked decades ago so that’s what caused it’, they are doing a lot of damage to their cause. If I am going to die of a smoking related illness in 30 years even if I stop now, then why bother stopping? It’s going to get me anyway, might as well enjoy myself while I’m waiting.

      As for any kind of antismoking research, it’s all so tainted now I’d dismiss it as quackery without even looking at it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Have you seen the reality of old people’s homes? A big stimulus free room where all the chairs are lined against the wall to stop the inmates conversing. All drugged up, staring blankly into the void, sat in your own shit, catheters shoved into everywhere. Occasionally a stressed out nurse comes along and feeds you or cleans you, you try to make conversation but just as you think you are in one she’s gone, and it’s back to staring into the void. On the rare good days when your body finally starts shutting down and you think you are about to die, the entire weight of the NHS is mobilised to keep you alive, and then they put you back in the chair in the room and you go back to staring into the void. Then one day a hatchet faced woman in a suit comes along to inform you that all your assets have run out and you’re going to have to be moved somewhere even more terrible. And she will say this to you like it’s your fault.

        Liked by 4 people

        • I hope so. I’d love to live past a hundred. I also have no problem with decrepitude as long as I can still sit in my garden and I am cared for by competent and decent people. But that’s not the reality for most people and I would sooner take a painful end to a short, happy life over a lingering old age doing things I hate for the convenience of others.


    • I worked with a guy who didn’t smoke or drink, wasn’t overweight and exercised a lot. Dead of a heart attack at 40.

      I was just under 40 at the time. I cut back on my workload.


      • My son was the same, very slim but strong, never smoked and didn’t drnk very much. Complained about pain and breathlessness, we forced him to go to the GP and it was found he had a 95% blockage in a main artery, fortunately before he had a heart attack and after a stent he has been fine so far. There is no history of heart problems in either family. In the past few years I have known six men between 40 – 50 who had heart attacks, three survived and three didn’t. None smoked or had unhealthy lifestyles, wonder why it seems common now.


  2. Why can’t they just say you died of old age if you make it beyond 80? You certainly did not die of young age. He had a good life a number of folks would trade for. Atleast he won’t have to wear those stupid ears anymore…


  3. I am a life long smoker since aged 11 (now 50 in June) and until I moved to a big city living by a manically busy road I had no issues with my chest at all. I know people with COPD most of them only developed this after quitting smoking. My father and grandfather (separate sides of the family) both had emphysema both had given up smoking many years previously. My mum is a smoker 73 this year and fitter than most people I know half her age. I believe traffic pollution is far worse than smoking, as I said above, my chest has only got bad since I moved to a huge city and by a busy dual carriage way into the city, where every damn surface is covered in black traffic filth within 10 minutes of dusting, if left un-cleaned for 2 days the wooden floor in the hall collects piles of black dirt and it is all residue traffic mess, I have never ever had muck collect like this in any other home I have ever had. Anti smokers complain about my second hand smoke, but they don’t want to hear me complain about their second hand traffic shit.
    I am a non driver I am forced to walk amongst this shit every day.
    Where is the parity, I am sick of having health professionals tell me everything I may possibly get is caused by smoking that is utter bullshit.
    I went to buy a bottle of cough mixture yesterday and the pharmacist asked me ” do you smoke?” I fixed him with my Paddington bear stare and said ” YES is that relevant to me having a head cold” the stare clearly gave the desired message , he went very quiet and I managed to make my purchase and leave without further interference. I find this is a problem I encounter with many pharmacists (usual Asian but not always) who blame everything on smoking I was even asked that question when I purchased an item for Thrush. My response ” when did smoking start to cause thrush?” This paranoia drives me nutts, so a pharmacist can drive past me belching car fumes and poisoning my lungs but I can’t smoke a cigarette in the privacy of my own home without being a bloody criminal!
    These people need to get a fecking grip. apologies for the language.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I am briefly desolate. I am also one of the original Trekkies so I will miss his presence. And I hope he is up there saving Whales.
    My ex husband died of COPD and so did his father. It’s inherited, and nothing much to do with smoking, although I don’t suppose that smoking helps. So I hope he didn’t swallow that codswallop.

    Off to watch The Whale Film again, for about the twentieth time. It makes me cry, so watch out for the flood tide. #LLAP.


  5. my bet is that it was the medical world who drummed that into him

    While they have tobacco to blame as a cause of everything, they are unlikely to look much further, blame the victim.

    But not in India.

    Indoor air pollution behind COPD, not smoking: study

    “You don’t have to be a smoker to suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Indoor air pollution is enough for one to contract the infection, says the first-of-its-kind study conducted at 22 villages of Pune.

    Out of 3,000 people randomly selected for the study, 210 suffered from COPD. “At least 93 per cent of those who had COPD were non smokers,” says Dr Sundeep Salvi, coordinator of the Chest Research Foundation (CRF).

    Among those identified to have COPD, only 7% were smokers and 93% were never smokers, indicating that smoking is clearly not the most important risk factor for COPD in India. More importantly, 23% of the COPDs occurred in age group less than 40 years, which has not been reported earlier, says Salvi.

    It has always been believed that COPD starts occurring after 40 years and above in people who have smoked for over 15-20 years. But in India, indoor air pollution seems to be the most important cause so the disease occurs in earlier age groups as well because of exposures from childhood, he explained.”

    So the obvious question is what is stopping those smokers who live in the same conditions from getting COPD?


  6. I seemed to remember that COPD was a new umbrella term for old diseases. Seems I was right.

    “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for people with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both”


    • Rose

      You forgot to add Asthma. The real ‘elephant in the room’ reason for the rising incidence of COPD/COLD, and incidentally the decreasing age of diagnosis, is, as both you and our host have repeatedly pointed out, the rising traffic pollution and … central heating/lack of chimneys/sealed double glazing. (from what I can gather from personal knowledge and research rates of both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, both in the majority associated with infectious/’industrial’ causations, are static, if not falling).

      As to why the smokers aren’t as susceptible? I still reference (although not very well since I lost the citation) that 1947 US research comparing smoking and ionising radiation, where the smoking group (rats?) had similar rates of lung cancer to the control … and the ‘accidental’ inclusion of a number of ‘smoking’ rats in the ionising radiation group(which overall showed a massive increase in incidence) indicated some protective mechanism associated with smoking (increased mucosal secretion coupled with increased mucocilliary escalator clearance of carcinogenic/irritant particulates?).

      Having worked quite a bit on geriatric wards my apocryphal opinion is that almost all the longest living are smokers. The ‘best'(?) bit of course being that they are forced to go and stand outside in all weathers to partake, and then any malady caused by shivering in the rain/cold/gale is blamed on their habit … of course.


        • Rose

          I’m still unable to find the citation but I believe it was the original series of research at the Oak Ridge X-10 plant in 1947. There was a follow-up series, I believe either until 1979 or 1984, which, typically and expectedly, did not address or follow up the ‘accidental’ findings related to smoking.

          It was begun after a ‘spike’ in lung cancer incidence (as well as both Hodgkins and leukaemia) was noted post WW2. This was at the height of the Cold War, of course, and as such a finding which implicated nuclear research, and as such threatened the ‘necessary’ and ‘vital’ testing, rather than any alternative was simply … unacceptable for ‘National Security’ reasons and so smoking became the culprit.


          • Able

            The ever reliable Richard Doll spun it the other way.

            A summary of mortality and incidence of cancer in men from the United Kingdom who participated in the United Kingdom’s atmospheric nuclear weapon tests and experimental programmes

            R Doll 1988

            Most of the differences observed between the participants and controls were interpreted as due to chance, but some may be due to differences in smoking habits.

            Participation in the test programme did not seem, in itself, to have caused any detectable effect on the participants’ expectation of life, apart from possibly causing small risks of developing leukaemia and multiple myeloma.”

            Forgotten victims of Britain’s nuclear tests on Christmas Island

            “No compensation for British servicemen exposed to nuclear explosions around Australia and the Pacific in the 1950s and ’60s”

            “A study undertaken by Sue Rabbitt Roff, a social scientist at the University of Dundee, in 1999, found that of 2,261 children born to veterans, 39 per cent were born with serious medical conditions. By contrast, the national incidence figure in Britain is around 2.5 per cent. In 1958, Mr Hall could not have known about any of this.

            And he would never have dreamt that the British government − unlike those of other Western countries − would consistently refuse to give the 3,000 nuclear veterans and their families any compensation, or even any special recognition.

            Indeed, the MoD has spent more than £4 million blocking legal claims brought by hundreds of nuclear veterans and their families. ”


  7. Some thoughts:

    Average age of death for a male(USA) is 76. Spock did well to live to 83.

    Average age of death from COPD is about 78. Spock did well to live to 83.

    I have COPD( chronic bronchitis) and my pulmonologist says that quitting smoking might, maybe,
    add two years to my life. Spocks having not smoked for 30 years had no bearing on his disease.

    COPD is a slowly progressing disease. I was diagnosed 7 years ago and still have 65% of my lung function left. That is more than enough for this gimped-up 72 year old.

    Doc says that I probably have around 6 years of life left. That would have me dying at the average expected age. No big deal there.

    COPD does not kill most of it’s people, it progresses so slowly that most will die from other causes like heart disease.

    Folks with COPD are strongly advised to get their Flu and Pneumonia shots. You are shit if you get the Big Pneu.


  8. A friends father died of emphysema aged 82. He was a lifelong racing cyclist, riding his last race at 81, before his illness struck him down. He never smoked, rarely drank alcohol and eat well. In hospital every doctor that treated him asked how many he smoked a day, and how old was he when he started. My friend even had a consultant accuse his dad of lying when he said he didn’t smoke and never had.


    • I sympathise, my aunt now 82 is always asked when she stopped smoking, she never smoked even when almost everyone of her age did, she just didn’t like it. She says they always look disbelieving.


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