The 54-year-old resident of Boiro in the northwestern region of Galicia recognized himself in a photograph on a tobacco packet above the warning: “Smoking can cause embolisms and disability”.
He believes the photograph of himself unconscious and wearing breathing apparatus was taken while he was undergoing surgery at the Santiago de Compostela hospital during April last year.
The man, identified only by the initials FJTA, went to the Guardia Civil last week to file a complaint against hospital authorities.
He told La Voz de Galicia that several neighbours had recognized him on the cigarette packets, an alarming fact as his medical condition had absolutely nothing to do with smoking.
“I am in that hospital bed not because of the consequences of smoking but because of back problems.” He explained that he had a titanium plate fitted in his spine.
Health authortities have launched an investigation to determine whether the photo is indeed of the Boiro resident and if so, how it came to be released for publication without permission.
It is not the first case of this kind in Spain. A woman in Barcelona complained that an image of her late husband, taken while he was being treated in hospital, was being used on cigarette packets.
All tobacco products in Spain now contain images designed to alert smokers to the health risks.