French man stunned to see photo of his amputated leg on cigarette warning

Harriet Brewis

A man was left stunned after a photo of his amputated leg was used on cigarette packets without his consent.

The image was displayed on EU cigarette packs with the caption: "Smoking clogs your arteries".

But the 60-year-old Albanian man, who lives in Metz, northeastern France, said the amputation had nothing to do with smoking.

In fact, he lost his leg as the result of a 1997 assault in Albania.

His son noticed the picture, which bore recognisable burns and scars, when buying a packet of tobacco last year in Luxembourg, according to French media.

He brought the packet home to his family and his father confirmed it was indeed a photo of his leg.

But the man said he’d never agreed to the picture being used.

He believes it was taken at a local hospital he visited to find out whether he could be equipped with a prosthetic leg, France Bleu reported.

His lawyer told the French broadcaster it definitely was the man's leg, explaining: "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".

He went on to deplore the man's treatment, saying: "It's pretty unbelievable that a person should find themself without their agreement on cigarette packets throughout the European Union.

"My client feels betrayed, wounded in his dignity, by seeing his disability on cigarette packets in tobacconists. Clearly that’s not very pleasant,” he added.

The lawyer has written to the hospital to find out how the photo ended up being used.

He has also contacted the European Commission to discuss its distribution of the image.

Mr Fittante acknowledged that the Commission normally uses pictures from a database, which are verified and published with the consent of the person featured.