J Korean Med Sci.  2014 Aug;29(8):1174-1177. 10.3346/jkms.2014.29.8.1174.

Trends and Risk Factors of the Epidemic of Charcoal Burning Suicide in a Recent Decade among Korean People

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea. wylee@cau.ac.kr
  • 2Center for the Study of Suicide, Department of Psychiatry and Department of Criminology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA.


The aims of this study were to analyze annual trends of charcoal burning (CB) suicide, 2000 to 2011, and to examine the risk factors of CB suicide in Korea. Data on suicides (n=138,938) were obtained from the Statistics Korea. The proportion of CB suicides among all suicide deaths reported was 0.7% (84 cases) in 2007, and since 2008 it has rapidly increased to 7.9% (1,251 cases) in 2011. Of significant risk factors of CB suicide, the presence of the media report of Ahn's suicide was the greatest risk factor (adjusted odds ratio, 11.69; 95% CI, 10.30-13.23) of the initial phase of the continuing CB suicides since 2008. Korean Government should urgently consider effective measures against CB suicide, including enforced media regulations on reporting such suicides.


Charcoal Burning; Mass Media; Suicide
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