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Title of Dataset
Data from: Assessing the Efficacy of Restricting Access to Barbecue Charcoal for Suicide Prevention in Taiwan: A Community-Based Intervention Trial
Author of Dataset
Chen, Ying-Yeh1
Chen, Feng2
Wong, Jacky4
Yip, Paul S. F.4
Date of Dataset Creation
Objective Charcoal-burning suicide has recently been spreading to many Asian countries. There have also been several cases involving this new method of suicide in Western countries. Restricting access to suicide means is one of the few suicide-prevention measures that have been supported by empirical evidence. The current study aims to assess the effectiveness of a community intervention program that restricts access to charcoal to prevent suicide in Taiwan. Methods and Findings A quasi-experimental design is used to compare method-specific (charcoal-burning suicide, non-charcoal-burning suicide) and overall suicide rates in New Taipei City (the intervention site, with a population of 3.9 million) with two other cities (Taipei City and Kaohsiung City, the control sites, each with 2.7 million residents) before (Jan 1st 2009- April 30th 2012) and after (May 1st 2012-Dec. 31st 2013) the initiation of a charcoal-restriction program on May 1st 2012. The program mandates the removal of barbecue charcoal from open shelves to locked storage in major retail stores in New Taipei City. No such restriction measure was implemented in the two control sites. Generalized linear regression models incorporating secular trends were used to compare the changes in method-specific and overall suicide rates before and after the initiation of the restriction measure. A simulation approach was used to estimate the number of lives saved by the intervention. Compared with the pre-intervention period, the estimated rate reduction of charcoal-burning suicide in New Taipei City was 37% (95% CI: 17%, 50%) after the intervention. Taking secular trends into account, the reduction was 30% (95% CI: 14%, 44%). No compensatory rise in non-charcoal-burning suicide was observed in New Taipei City. No significant reduction in charcoal-burning suicide was observed in the other two control sites. The simulation approach estimated that 91 (95%CI [55, 128]) lives in New Taipei City were saved during the 20 months of the intervention. Conclusion Our results demonstrate that the charcoal-restriction program reduced method-specific and overall suicides. This study provides strong empirical evidence that restricting the accessibility of common lethal methods of suicide can effectively reduce suicide rates.
Chen, YY, Chen, F, Chang, SS, Wong, J, Yip, PSF. (2015). Data from: Assessing the Efficacy of Restricting Access to Barbecue Charcoal for Suicide Prevention in Taiwan: A Community-Based Intervention Trial. [Data File]. Suicide count data have been uploaded as Supporting Information accessed on figshare at
The complete dataset, from which the suicide count data were derived, is the property of the Taiwan Ministry of Health and Welfare and is restricted. Interested parties can apply for access to the data at
Subject (RGC Codes)
H2 — Social and Behavioural Sciences — 社會及行為學
  • 4410 — Social Work — 社會工作
Subject (ANZSRC)
  • 1607 — SOCIAL WORK — 社會工作
    • 160701 — Clinical Social Work Practice — 臨床社會工作實務
New Taipei city
May 1 st 2012.
control sites
community intervention program
simulation approach
restriction measure
suicide rates
  1. Taipei City Hosp, Taipei City Psychiat Ctr, Taipei, Taiwan ; Natl Yang Ming Univ, Inst Publ Hlth, Taipei 112, Taiwan ; Natl Yang Ming Univ, Dept Publ Hlth, Taipei 112, Taiwan
  2. Univ New S Wales, Dept Stat, Sydney, NSW, Australia
  3. Natl Taiwan Univ, Coll Publ Hlth, Inst Hlth Policy & Management, Taipei 10764, Taiwan ; Natl Taiwan Univ, Coll Publ Hlth, Dept Publ Hlth, Taipei 10764, Taiwan
  4. Univ Hong Kong, Hong Kong Jockey Club Ctr Suicide Res & Prevent, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Peoples R China ; Univ Hong Kong, Dept Social Work & Social Adm, Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Peoples R China