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Psychiatr Serv. 2001 Jun;52(6):836-7.

Carbon monoxide poisoning as a new method of suicide in Hong Kong.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Princes of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong, China.


The incidence in Hong Kong of intentional carbon monoxide poisonings by burning charcoal in a confined space was investigated. In the two-year study period, 22 (39 percent) of the 56 reported cases occurred in the three months following a highly publicized case in which this method was used to commit suicide; no cases were reported before the publicized incident. Individuals who used this method were younger on average (mean, 39 years) than those who used the more common methods of jumping (mean, 47 years) and hanging (mean, 55 years). The authors speculate that this form of suicide is becoming more prevalent because it has been highly publicized, it is easily carried out, and it is culturally acceptable.

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