Mother-of-two Jodi Charles was shocked when she saw a picture of a man on a cigarette package. The 42 year old was horrified, to say the least, because she thought it was a picture of her father. Jodi says that she is 110% sure that the picture is of her father David who died in 2015.
“My friend who smokes tobacco came round on Tuesday and my 14-year-old daughter picked up the wrapper,” she said. “She ran into the room and said, ‘Look, it’s granddad!’”
“When I saw that photo, I just said, ‘Oh my God.’ I just knew without any doubt that it was dad. I was horrified.”
David was in intensive care at Basildon University Hospital where he passed away from bone marrow problems and septicaemia. While he was a smoker, this was not the reason for his death. Jodi believed that during the ten months he spent at the hospital, the picture was taken of her dad being hooked up to a life support machine.
“I cut my dad’s hair for 20 years, I know exactly how his hairline was, exactly where it sticks up a little,” she said. “I also cut his eyebrows and know all the tiny details of his face.”
“The whole picture looks exactly like him. His eyes were puffed up when he was in intensive care and they are in the photo too.”
“I am 110 per cent sure it is him and that there is no way he gave permission for such a terrible picture to be used. It’s terribly upsetting.”
“This has been a horrendous time for us. Dad being ill took up my whole life and I am still grieving now – I will be forevermore.”
“As time goes on you learn to deal with it, but this has brought it all back. I’m distraught again.”
Both the EU commission and Basildon Hospital deny the picture is David Ross but Jodi says that even her daughter recognised the picture as her granddad. It is unthinkable that the picture should appear on the packet without permission, which Jodi says she never would have given.
“Any similarity is purely coincidental,” the Commission have said.
The EU has said that it is not allowed to give out information about pictures as it has to protect the rights of the individuals it shows. It stated that any pictures they use, are only and ever used with the consent of the person. They would never use a picture without permission.
“We are very sorry for the distress caused to this young lady who believes that her father is depicted in this health warning,” a spokesperson said.
“However, having checked the details of her father against the identity of the person depicted, we can categorically state that the person in this picture is not David Ross.”
“May we take this opportunity to emphasise that all individuals depicted in the library of picture warnings were informed and gave their consent. Any similarity with other individuals is purely coincidental.”
“There are only two departments which take photos – communications, for charity events and that sort of thing, and medical photography,” a hospital spokeswoman added.
“Neither of those departments have forwarded any photos to the photo library.”
Jodi feels that until she has proof that the picture is not her father, she will assume that someone took the shot and used it. She will then go ahead and start legal proceeding against the hospital and the cigarette company.
“If it isn’t him, I want proof of that, and of the fact that he signed to say that they could do this.,” she said.
“If they don’t give me that, I’m going to sue them. It is horrific to see my dad who has just passed away on a fag packet. It is morally wrong and extremely distressing for the whole family.”