This 74-year-old man who was shocked to find photos of his face from when he was undergoing chemotherapy printed on cigarette packs without his consent as part of an anti-cancer campaign has spoken up.
Juvenal Barreto Rodriguez claims he did not even get cancer from smoking but rather that it came from an insect bite.
The OAP, who lives in the town of Villeta in the Colombian department of Cundinamarca, was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 by the National Cancer Institute in Colombia (ESE) and he reportedly had the pictures taken while he was being treated with chemotherapy.
Barreto Rodriguez has spoken about the case for first time, telling local media: “Some nurses came to me and they said I was the most willing to have pictures taken.”
The elderly man says that after his photo was printed on the cigarette packets he is now recognised by his neighbours as “the cigarette man” but he claims that a biopsy revealed that his tumour was “caused by an insect bite” rather than smoking.
According to local media, the State Council ruled in June 2018 that the Ministry of Health and the Cancer Institute “infringed upon the good faith” of the man, and pointed out that the elderly man “was not informed what the pictures were for” as he could not read and he has no family, and the victim has now spoken up about his plight.
The Ministry of Health presented a document in which Barreto allegedly authorised the use of his image for the campaign called ‘Health Warnings (mouth cancer)’, but the man claims he did not know what he was signing as he cannot read and said “they made me sign papers from the medical board”.
Reports said that the State Council determined that “officials filled out the form for Juvenal’ and an official order was issued last year to remove the picture from the cigarettes pack, although old packs are still sold with the picture.
It is unclear if Mr Rodriguez is even a smoker.
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Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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