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>> News > United Kingdom
Man Killed By No-Smoking Sign - February 20th 2006

A man from King's Lynn, England was killed when a large no-smoking sign fell from its mountings on the ceiling of a local restaurant. Although paramedics were quick to arrive on the scene, the man was declared dead immediately – as the sign had completely decapitated him.

The restaurant – which can't be named for legal reasons – released a statement claiming that following the man's death they immediately checked the fixtures of the other hanging signs in the building and they were all determined to be secure. They also claimed that their policy of making their suspended signs from sheet steel was entirely justified – as all of their previous plastic no-smoking signs had quickly become stained by the cigarette smoke from the people ignoring them.

The restaurant owner, Chuck Hankman, denied that the death of Keith Wilson was any reason for people to stop eating at his establishment:

“At the end of the day, there was always a tiny possibility that a sign could fall from its mountings and decapitate someone,” Hankman explained, “But the fact is, Keith Wilson was a regular here. He came almost every night – far more than any of my other regulars. That meant that in the event a sign did fall from its mountings and kill someone, it was most likely going to kill him.”

Anti-smoking groups were quick to point out that whilst in this event a no smoking policy had been directly responsible for the death of an individual, such cases were rare and the sign had most likely saved a much larger number of lives – albeit indirectly.

The incident is the latest in a number of related incidents, including the time a truck making a delivery of nicotine patches collided with a school bus and when a manufacturing plant introduced a site wide no-smoking policy and burned down from increased productivity.

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