A man who claims a picture of his amputated leg stump is being used on cigarette packets without his permission is wrong, the European Commission says.
The unnamed Albanian man says the picture, which appears as a warning of the dangers of smoking, features distinctive scars and was taken when he visited an orthopedic center last year — but the Commission, which oversees the images used on cigarette packets, says the featured stump isn’t his.
The man’s lawyer, Antoine Fittante, told CNN that his client’s amputation was not related to smoking but was caused by an armed assault in Albania in 1997.
“He considers it an injury to his dignity because it is a picture of his body that was used publicly,” Fittante said.
“He is not asking for a financial request, he just wants to see the photo removed. He and his family want to understand how this photo got from point A to point B because they were devastated when they saw it. They really didn’t take it well,” Fittante said.
“The client claims that this is his body because he has specific scars on both legs, that appear similar to the ones in the photo. The resemblance is striking and not a mere coincidence.”
The lawyer told CNN that his client is considering a legal challenge.
The European Commission, however, disputes the man’s timeline and says the photo could not have been taken after 2014.
“The man said he sent the photo to his doctor in 2018, so it’s not possible, we have not updated our database since 2014,” Anca Paduraru, the EU Commission’s spokesperson on public health, told CNN.
“It happens regularly that there are issues. Someone tells us (a photo) is his brother, his father… but it’s not possible. We have a very good reason for that, that I can not give you,” Paduraru said, adding that the Commission meets face-to-face with people whose bodies are used in the warning pictures.
“I assure you (the man) will not press charges, he will understand very quickly that it is in fact not him,” Paduraru said.
Fittante told CNN that his client was prepared to undergo a medical examination if the case went to court.