High-Risk Groups for Charcoal-Burning Suicide in Taiwan, 2001-2005

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Sir: Suicide by charcoal burning, in which the victim dies from carbon monoxide poisoning, has been an epidemic in Hong Kong and Taiwan for some years now. Following wide publicity attending the first case in late 1998 in Hong Kong, disseminated through the media and Internet, the suicide rate from charcoal burning and other poisonous gases in Taiwan has increased dramatically, from 0.14 per 100,000 in 1998 to 5.38 per 100,000 in 2005, a 40-fold increase. In 1998, only 32 people were reported to have used charcoal burning or other poisonous gases to kill themselves in Taiwan, and these deaths accounted for only 1% (32/2906) of all suicides and deaths from undetermined intent.​​

J Clin Psychiatry 2008;69(9):1499-1501