J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc.  2014 Jan;53(1):1-7. 10.4306/jknpa.2014.53.1.1.

Overview of Suicide by Charcoal Burning and Prevention Strategies

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea. jphong@amc.seoul.kr


Suicide by charcoal burning is common in Asian countries such as Hong Kong and Taiwan. Suicide by charcoal burning has recently shown a rapid increase in Korea, following a celebrity suicide, which was extensively reported by the media. Not only is suicide by charcoal burning fatal, but it also causes delayed neuropsychiatric symptoms through carbon monoxide poisoning. Risk factors associated with charcoal-burning suicide include middle age, male, divorced or unmarried, and economically active but with financial difficulties. To prevent suicide by charcoal burning, limited access to charcoal, responsible media reporting as recommended by international guidelines, and detoxification of charcoal by modifying the raw material should all be considered. In addition, suicide prevention programs should increasingly focus on suicide by charcoal burning. Relevant measures to prevent suicide by charcoal burning will be essential in order to lower the overall suicide rate in Korea.


Suicide; Carbon monoxide poisoning; Charcoal burning; Briquette
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