A man in eastern France has been left shocked after realising a photograph of his amputated leg had been used on cigarette packets without his consent.
The picture was intended to warn people of the dangers of smoking, accompanied by a message which read ‘smoking clogs your arteries’.
However, the unnamed 60-year-old man, who is originally from Albania, did not lose his leg due to smoking. His leg was amputated after a 1997 shooting incident in Albania.
As reported by BBC News, the man’s lawyer is now contacting the European Commission to try and figure out what happened.
The picture was first noticed by the man’s son, who recognised his father’s distinguishing burns and scars while buying tobacco in Luxembourg.
The man’s daughter has since made the following comments to regional paper, Le Républicain Lorrain:
He [my brother] was coming back from Luxembourg. Without saying a word, he put a big box of rolling tobacco on the table.
We were stunned. We did not believe it. The family thought it was indeed a picture of the father’s leg.
It’s our father’s. His scars are characteristic.
The man has claimed the picture has been used without his permission, and believes it was taken at a local hospital he visited to discuss the potential for a walking apparatus.
The family’s legal representation, Antoine Fittante, has confirmed the leg on the cigarette packet belongs to the man in question and has explained his client feels ‘betrayed’.
According to BBC News, Mr Fittante said:
Each scar is specific, unique. This man also has burn marks on the other leg, it’s very clear. An expert will have no trouble identifying the image.
It’s rather incredible that a person finds themselves without their agreement on cigarette packets throughout the European Union.
My client feels betrayed, wounded in his dignity, by seeing his disability [displayed] on cigarette packets in tobacconists; one must admit that’s not very pleasant.
Mr Fittante has now contacted the hospital to enquire how the photograph of the man’s leg was used for this purpose.
The European Commission, which holds ultimate responsibility for the distribution of EU cigarette packet images, has also been contacted.
Mr Fittante has explained the commission would usually use pictures taken from a database, after they have been verified and published with the consent of the photographed individual.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.