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Letter to the Editor

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

Jin-Jia Lin, MD, and Tsung-Hsueh Lu, MD, PhD

Published: September 30, 2008

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Sir: Suicide by charcoal burning, in which the victim diesfrom carbon monoxide poisoning, has been an epidemic inHong Kong and Taiwan for some years now. Following widepublicity attending the first case in late 1998 in Hong Kong,disseminated through the media and Internet, the suicide ratefrom charcoal burning and other poisonous gases in Taiwan hasincreased dramatically, from 0.14 per 100,000 in 1998 to 5.38per 100,000 in 2005, a 40-fold increase. In 1998, only 32 peoplewere reported to have used charcoal burning or other poisonousgases to kill themselves in Taiwan, and these deathsaccounted for only 1% (32/2906) of all suicides and deathsfrom undetermined intent.’ ‹’ ‹

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