Nimoy is okay – but has COPD from years of smoking |
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Nimoy is okay – but has COPD from years of smoking January 31, 2014

by Matt Wright , Filed under: Celebrity , trackback

On the 28th, Leonard Nimoy was seen being wheeled through New York’s JFK airport with an oxygen cylinder. Thankfully a day or so later he Tweeted that he’s okay, the oxygen was due to his development of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) from years of smoking. He quit during the filming of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Long flights and the wear of traveling seems to have taken a bit of toll on him, but he’s back home and doing fine.



1. Paul - January 31, 2014

I hope he gets better

2. Danpaine - January 31, 2014

As far as I know, COPD is something that doesn’t get better, unfortunately. Best wishes to him.

3. Bud - January 31, 2014

Live long and prosper, Leonard!

4. Steve-o - January 31, 2014

I wondered when I saw pics of him with an air tank :(

5. Steve-o - January 31, 2014

this is not the first picture to surface either. someone snapped a photo with him on an alaskan cruise or something months back and he had the tank and tube in the photo.

6. FSJMusicMan - January 31, 2014

It’s unfortunate, but at least he’s still with us!

7. Ciarán - January 31, 2014

I feared the worst when I saw that pic. Leonard has long been the #1 champion and ambassador (so to speak) for Star Trek for so many years, even moreso than William Shatner. I was also very saddened to hear of his COPD diagnosis. I know it’s incurable and just deteriorates a person.

When he eventually does pass away, the loss that the Star Trek universe will experience will be one that wouldn’t have been felt since the death of Gene Roddenberry all those 23 years ago.

We should all enjoy the time we have with Leonard (vicariously, of course) before his time comes.


8. Crusade2267 - January 31, 2014

I’m glad he’s home safe

9. Dom - January 31, 2014

Eek! COPD is very nasty indeed. I’ve worked on some videos about it.

Best wishes Mr N!

10. Pensive's Wetness - January 31, 2014

I dislike being reminded that our heros are not immortal… Do get well, Mr. Nimoy.

11. Danpaine - January 31, 2014

When he and Shatner pass, those are going to be a couple of dark days for me, personally. But what gifts they’ve given us.

12. Corylea - January 31, 2014

I was impressed (though not surprised) that instead of ignoring the photographs or railing against the invasion of his privacy, Mr. Nimoy used the occasion as an opportunity to encourage people to quit smoking. Truly, Mr. Nimoy is a great man, and not only because he was a wonderful Spock. He is a sensitive and thoughtful man, and I am continually impressed at the dignity and grace with which he’s handled the whole Star Trek phenomenon.

Lots of us love you, Mr. Nimoy — not just Spock, but YOU, too. Best of luck dealing with your health challenges; I hope you’ll continue to enjoy your life for many years to come.

13. Pan Always Bored Me - January 31, 2014

COPD is evil. My dad developed it five years ago and he quit smoking in 1970. All my prayers to Mr. Nimoy.

14. windelkin - January 31, 2014

Corylea, you took the words right out of my mouth! You’re so right. He’s thinking of others rather than trying to eek out the last bits of attention he can for himself and always with such a great sense of humor. A great example for the next generations.

15. CmdrR - January 31, 2014

LN, be strong and know we care and we’re rooting for you.

16. Jim Nightshade - January 31, 2014

copd does not get better and will kill ya unless something else gets you first…treatments n drugs do slow this progression n im sure mr nimoy is doing everything he needs to….my moms had it for years n sleeps with an oxygen machine…she quit smokin after she had me but like nimoy wasnt soon enough…shes 87 now hangin in there….hope nimoy continues to do the same also…

17. Cygnus-X1 - January 31, 2014

He’s a good man. I’m glad he’s alright.

18. Ahmed - January 31, 2014

Good to hear that he is ok.

19. Phil - January 31, 2014

Unfortunately, as the name implies, COPD is chronic. There is no getting better, you take care of yourself and manage the condition. With proper care, there’s no reason to expect that he won’t put a few more miles on the odometer.

Could not agree with CoryLea more, it speaks to the man as a person that he’s meeting this challenge head on, and encouraging others to not make the same mistakes.

20. Calastir - January 31, 2014

Spock says: “Quit smoking. It’s logical.”

21. Marja - January 31, 2014

I’m glad he’s coping with this huge health challenge, and wouldn’t you just know he’d use it as a teaching opportunity.

In his two “Spock” books Nimoy says that playing Spock taught him a lot about how to be in this world – this strange world of stardom and real life, and how to deal with the people who adore him for playing this one character.

His strategy seems to be loving-kindness.

More power to you, Mr Nimoy; you have taught us so much through the years.

22. Bob - January 31, 2014

COPD is eventually a death sentence. There’s no “getting better”. Sorry but that is the truth.

23. Josek - January 31, 2014

When I saw STID I had suspicions that he had COPD. You can hear the forced deep breaths between lines.

My aunt had copd, it is not a fun way to go.

Lets hope when Leonard leaves us it is peaceful. He has given lifetimes of joy to me and the world.

24. BobZ - January 31, 2014

I love you Leonard Nimoy!
Keep on Trekin one and all!

25. MJ - January 31, 2014


Yea, and at that age, once you get dependent on Oxygen tanks, there is no going back to normal breathing.

Love the guy, and hope he has a peaceful end without much pain.

26. John from Cincinnati - January 31, 2014

Mr. Nimoy is God’s gift to the world. A treasure for all of us fans. He has been the most kind, engaged and sincere Star Trek “Celebrity” of all of them. May you have many, many, many happy years ahead Sir.

27. Vultan - January 31, 2014

Good to hear he’s doing okay. I feared the worst.
God bless you, Mr. Nimoy. You made Star Trek fly, and still do.

28. Jonboc - January 31, 2014

#22. “COPD is eventually a death sentence. ”

Umm…being alive is a death sentence.

29. MJ - January 31, 2014

@28. We all got it coming, Jonboc. We all got it coming

30. Gary 8.5 - January 31, 2014

To Mr.Nimoy, a man I greaty respect and admire,
All my hopes .
I see him as a fighter .
He will be with us for as long as he can be .
Live Long and Prosper , Good Sir .

31. Hat Rick - January 31, 2014

I wish good things for Mr. Nimoy — people are resilient and are able to conquer many health challenges. I hope he will as well.

32. Elias Javalis - January 31, 2014

My thoughts with you Mr Nimoy,

Vulcans are strong! He will get better!!

33. helenofpeel - February 1, 2014

Best wishes to Mr. Nimoy. This is not something that will get better, but I hope he continues to live long and prosper…

34. Aussie Ian - February 1, 2014

Poor Leonard! Failing health is the logical progression of long life. I hope I am wrong but Trek’s 50th anniversary may yet include a memorial to this great man. People don’t live forever but legends do. The cast of the original series, or THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN as I call them will always be legends to me. Live as long and prosperous as you can, Mr Nimoy

35. Aussie Ian - February 1, 2014

Poor Leonard! Failing health is the logical progression of long life. I hope I am wrong but Trek’s 50th anniversary may yet include a memorial to this great man. People don’t live forever but legends do. The cast of the original series, or THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN as I call them will always be legends to me. Live as long and prosperous as you can, Mr Nimoy

36. Beverly - February 1, 2014

My father in law just passed away from complications from copd at age 85. No getting better…progressively gets worse. He was a cigarette smoker and pipe smoker in later years…horrible to see people gasping for air like a fish out of water…you feel helpless.

37. Tobias Richter - February 1, 2014

In my book that is not “being okay” – it´s a terrible disease without cure. I wish him all the best!

38. The Keeper - February 1, 2014

Wishing you all the best Mr. Nimoy. It was an honor to be able to meet and chat with you so many years ago.
While I understand you’re not likely to remember me, I will forever remember that small fraction of time we shared.

39. Karl Horgan - February 1, 2014

LLAP Spock as we say in Ireland “May the road rise up to meet you”

40. Spockboy - February 1, 2014

Actually there IS a way to beat it, and since Leonard is wealthy it is completely within the realm of possibility.

Sorry guys, This site won’t accept the entire link.
Try this…


41. MJ - February 1, 2014

@40. If being rich could stop stuff like that, then Bill Gates, far richer than Nimoy’s wildest dreams, would still be alive today.

42. MJ - February 1, 2014

lol…I meant Steve Jobs, of course.

43. John Davidson - February 1, 2014

Spock I suggest you get Beamed into a thought of LOGIC!

Your COPD showing up 30 years after you quit is quite a STRETCH!

Perhaps you should have tweeted that you got COPD from a viral infection which is where COPD is actually caused. 30 years after is IMPOSSIBLE!

Adenoviruses Cause COPD
It has always been obvious merely from looking at the scatter plots in old studies of lung function that, among both smokers and nonsmokers, certain individuals were distinctly abnormal. They had much higher rates of loss than the others. There was a higher proportion of abnormal individuals among the smokers, and, by ignoring these individual differences and lumping together all smokers versus all nonsmokers, the anti-smoking ideologues falsely implicated tobacco as the cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Mitochondrial Abnormalities in COPD include tissues with no exposure to cigarette smoke

Systemic effects of COPD. M Decramer, F De Benedetto, A Del Ponte, S Marinari. Respir Med 2005 Dec;99 Suppl B:S3-10. “Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by a range of pathological changes of the respiratory system, including airflow limitation secondary to structural changes of the small airways and loss of alveolar attachments, inflammation, ciliary dysfunction, and increased mucous production. COPD also has significant systemic consequences…. Although improving lung function and disease symptoms have been the main focus of COPD management, these parameters alone do not reflect the full burden of disease. More recent endeavours have highlighted the potential role of addressing physical limitations imposed by systemic alterations. It is evident that systemic manifestations are common in COPD. Indeed, many patients demonstrate a gradual and significant weight loss that exacerbates the course and prognosis of disease. This weight loss is often accompanied by peripheral muscle dysfunction and weakness, which markedly contribute to exercise limitation and impaired quality of life.”

Decramer – Respir Med 2005 abstract / PubMed

44. John from Cincinnati - February 1, 2014

Steve Jobs died of cancer, not COPD.

A lung transplant could do the trick.

45. Carol - February 1, 2014

Cytomegalovirus is the real cause of COPD.

It’s not a recognized treatment for COPD, but as a rich and famous person he should be able to get hold of some ganciclovir. It’s the anti-viral used against CMV.

46. john davidson - February 1, 2014

It is also used for acute CMV colitis in HIV/AIDS and CMV pneumonitis in immunosuppressed patients.

Cytomegalovirus ganciclovir

47. john davidson - February 1, 2014

John from Cincinnati – February 1, 2014
Steve Jobs died of cancer, not COPD.

A lung transplant could do the trick.

This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

“I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study………………………

Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.


A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

48. Nony - February 1, 2014


He didn’t say it just showed up out of the blue 30 years later; he said he didn’t quit soon enough because the damage was already done. He’s probably had it all along, but age and travel have exacerbated it recently. I’m sure he’s been to his doctor and knows what he’s talking about.

Whatever the case, LLAP, Leonard, love life, and do what it takes to make yourself comfortable!

49. Blue Thunder - February 1, 2014

I wish Leonard all the best. It is sad that he has contracted this horrible ailment.

All the more reason why people should NOT smoke period.

It’s NOT worth ruining your health and losing your life over.

50. Tom - February 2, 2014

Hope for the best for Leonard Nimoy. I am sure he and his doctors will do whatever possible to treat the disease. I hope for as much quality of life as possible for him.I wish Bob had gotten him and Bill down to Bad Robot to shoot a scene together. Now with the inevitable age and health issues, I hope they are still well for the 50th anniversary and beyond.

51. Benjamin - February 2, 2014

Sadly learnt the news a few days ago. As we say in french “Longue vie et prospérité”.

52. Carol - February 2, 2014

The vast majority of doctors do NOT know what they’re ranting about. They’ve been so eager to blame the victims that there hasn’t been any real scientific research on the subject until quite recently. Then look at how the high pooh-bahs of the health establishment shut their eyes to the evidence implicating CMV! When they look at a type of T cells that are absolutely specific for CMV, they ignore the solid evidence that this is so and babble about “contents of smoke” leading to loss of CD28! It is egregious!

Many never-smokers have been infected by CMV as well. And that explains why COPD is NOT “vanishingly rare” among them: “Never smokers represented 42% of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey population aged 30 to 80 years, with obstruction prevalence of 91 per 1000. Never smokers accounted for 4.56 million cases of obstruction, or 23% of the total burden.”

53. DS9 IN PRIME TIME - February 2, 2014

Mr. Nimoy all my hopes!

54. Jason - February 2, 2014

Would they give an 82 year old a lung transplant?

55. Spockboy - February 2, 2014

If it’s Leonard Nimoy, I certainly hope they will try.

We need him on the planet you see :)

56. Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. - February 2, 2014

Leonard we’re all praying that you will continue to live long and prosper in great health for many years to come. You, Bill and De are icons, and we thank you for your excellent contributions to the ST universe that not only entertained, but taught us so much.

57. MJ - February 2, 2014


“A lung transplant could do the trick.”

It’s unlikely a patient over 80 would qualify a lung transplant.

58. Anthony Thompson - February 2, 2014

43. John Davidson

Thanks for the lecture, Doc! Go ahead and light one up, Johnny. It’s good for you.

59. "Because Shat Happens..." - February 3, 2014

So sorry to hear this about Mr. Nimoy.

Let’s hope that smoking will be a thing of the past by the 23rd Century. Nicotine is such an evil and destructive drug, it claimed my father in 2010 and my Mum also has COPD.

I thank from the bottom of my heart as they were instrumental in helping me with my quit in Feb 2006, after 18 years a heavy smoker. Best thing I have ever managed to do.

60. trekmaster78 - February 3, 2014

I think he has problems breathing due to heart insufficiency.

61. trekmaster78 - February 3, 2014

The alternative would be worse lung cancer as a late consequence of decades of smoking.Then he would be dead without successful treatment in 2 years, but I wish him the best of health and many more years.

62. KAPT KRUNCH - February 3, 2014

My father passed away from COPD nearly 5 years ago, and I believe that all of the second hand smoke effects me today. #58…My dad said upon hearing he had it about 15 years ago…” Well at least it isn’t cancer”.. I thought that sounded crazy or selfish… though he was on oxygen for the last 2 years or so, he continued to smoke like before???? He smoked for 50+ years and wasn’t quitting so close to the end?
Live Long Leonard Nimoy…you quit and deserve many more years!

63. Phil - February 3, 2014

Not sure why there are a few people here who seem to be defending smoking – if the ratio of tobacco exposure is 60/40 in COPD cases, there is still a laundry list of afflictions connected to smoking anything that is sufficient evidence that Mr. Nimoy’s advice is sound. Don’t start, or if you have, quit. Your lungs will thank you.

64. John davidson - February 3, 2014

7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
November 2004.

“5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke – induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease.”

In other words … our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can’t even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact … we don’t even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.

The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.

65. John davidson - February 3, 2014

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

This sorta says it all

These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”


All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

“For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

“Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

“For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

66. VOODOO - February 3, 2014

Stay strong Leonard!


67. Lt. Bailey - February 3, 2014

We can all wish him the best and that he stays as healthy as the COPD allows.

68. Keachick - February 3, 2014

I hope that Leonard Nimoy can still enjoy what time he has left as much as possible and that the palliative relief offered by his doctors continues to make life OK for him for some time to come.

A lot of these respiratory illnesses can be the result of different causes or a combination of factors, one of the contributory factors being that, in Leonard’s case, he smoked for more than half his life. Perhaps his parents smoked as well. For example, it has been shown that people who live within a five mile radius of a major airport are more likely to develop respiratory illnesses, whether they smoke or not, compared with people who do not live near an airport.

The COPD condition does provide some explanation for one or two things I had noticed and had wondered about concerning Leonard Nimoy.

My best wishes and prayers go out to you, Leonard Nimoy. Be cool, you good man!

69. DiscoSpock - February 3, 2014




70. Carol - February 3, 2014

Phil –
The Surgeon General Lies About Cancer

The Surgeon General Lies That Smoking Causes Heart Disease

71. Keachick - February 4, 2014

What I don’t get is why the Surgeon General and others would lie about the deleterious effects of (longterm) smoking. It does not make sense because the Tobacco Industry is a successful, profitable industry and employer. Why attempt to “shoot down” something so successful if it were so harmless? That is just stupid….unless…?!

I think it has well determined that smoking is a major contributory factor. One thing is that it is known, over time, to compromise the immune system, especially when a person is exposed from a young age, hence the warnings to pregnant/lactating women not to smoke or expose babies to second-hand smoking.

People’s immune systems can be compromised in all kinds of ways and often we have little control. However, with tobacco smoking, people do have some choice and control.

72. Keachick - February 4, 2014

Oh for an edit function…sigh

73. Carol - February 4, 2014

Keachick, it’s puritan religion pretending to be science. Anything people enjoy is SINFUL and must be stamped out, you know. Threatening people with h-e-l-l doesn’t work nowadays, so they threaten them with COPD. And spread lies about harming babies instead of eating babies. They purposely use defective studies that falsely blame smoking for perinatal illnesses that are really caused by chorioamnionitis, which is infection of the chorion, amnion and/or placenta. The anti-smokers use studies based on lifestyle questionnaires, which lack pathological examination of the tissues, so they miss 90% of cases. Then they blame smoking merely because smokers are more likely to have this infection for socioeconomic reasons.

All their tripe that smoking supposedly compromises the immune system is a lie, too, because it’s based on ignoring the role of cytomegalovirus. Among people who are infected, CMV is the single largest burden on the immune system that has been found.

Poorer people are especially likely to have been infected as children because people around them are more likely to carry the virus. So the anti-smokers even blame smoking for hearing loss due to CMV infections that people got as fetuses from their mothers.

And you think the authorities would never lie to us!

74. Phil - February 5, 2014

@71. Good luck, Rose – there tends to be no arguing with the junk science faction. Misplaced faith, mixed with a healthy dose of conspiracy trumps reason every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. If we are to accept, in the name of tolerance, that ‘historical science’ has a place at the table, then we have a lot of nerve when we snicker at someone who clings to a ridiculous scientific model, be it a geocentric universe, or an unsubstantiated claim that there is no evidence linking smoking to lung disease.

75. Adam C - February 5, 2014

i would literally be destroyed if anything worse happens to Leanard Nimoy, such a great man

76. Who cares - February 5, 2014

@Keachick. Did you really ask why the government would lie to their citizens? That one is easy to answer, CONTROL. Seriously there has never been a government in human history that has not lied to its people in order to maintain or increase its power, and that includes your precious NZ too.

Why else would the US government have produced a so-called educational film called “Reefer Madness” which made the blatantly false statement that “even one puff on a marijuana cigarette will leave you hopelessly insane”.

Now then as far as tobacco goes. Do I believe it is harmful? As a smoker yes I do, but that does not change the fact that any and all human governments can and will lie to their citizens for whatever reason they decide is good enough.

77. Carol - February 5, 2014

Phil, your ilk are the junk science faction. Your beloved Surgeon General reports, which you believe on blind faith despite never having read them (and which you lack the intelligence to critique even if you did), are all based on fraud – blaming smoking for things caused by infection. Such as those CD4+CD28- T cells linked to COPD, which are caused by nothing else but cytomegalovirus. Your so-called evidence is deliberate false accusation, and you wouldn’t know science if it bit you on the behind.

78. Jim Nightshade - February 7, 2014

oh cmon tell that to my moms mom who died from cancer at the old age of 45…she was a smoker..i never even got to see my grandma….george harrison smoker died way too young of cancer…my mom smoked until her 40s…she now had copd like best friends father woud sneak over to our house to smoke cuz her wife wouldnt let him keep smoking…he barely lived long enough to see his son get married n had lung cancer so bad he coughed constantly and through the entire wedding….although i never smoked my mom did smoke when pregnant with me i was born under five pounds…my other brothers n sis were all born after my mom stopped smoking…i have lung problems needing two different inhalers…and easily get chronic bronchitis when i get sick…none of my others brothers n sisters have this problem,,,,i cant go into casinos with smoking allowed, i get ill n start to wheeze pretty bad..i could go on and on…are some studies flawed n even false…probably…does that mean smoking is good for you? I doubt it…

79. Jim Nightshade - February 7, 2014

but i do believe anyone who wants to smoke should be able to…but is it fair for me to be sickened by their second hand smoke? i dont think so…

80. Carol - February 9, 2014

Jim Nightshade, you’re a poster boy for how worthless those quacks are so why do you keep believing in them?

81. Anthony Thompson - February 10, 2014

63. Phil

No, there aren’t a few people here defending smoking. There is only one. ‘Carol’ = John davidson. ‘Carol’ and Johnny also believe the 9/11 Truthers, etc.

82. Phil - February 14, 2014

@81. Yeah, I know…there’s always one somewhere.

83. Carol - February 17, 2014

Phil, you’re a dirty liar.

84. Carol - February 17, 2014

Anthony Thompson, if you can’t tell the difference between two different people, you’re a moron. is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.