According to reports, laughing gas could be banned from sale in general unless someone has a “legitimate reason”.
Ministers are considering the move as part of a crackdown on anti-social behaviour. The Times reported. After cannabis, laughing gas is the most commonly used drug among 16 to 24-year-olds in England.
There are concerns about health problems caused by its use, including that it has been linked to nerve damage, paralysis or death.
Only those with a good reason to obtain it will be exempted, such as in products including whipped cream or chefs who use it for chilled or chilled food. The gas, nitrous oxide, is also used as a pain reliever during childbirth or dental treatment.
The law currently prohibits the intentional or negligent supply of inhaled nitrous oxide. However, the British Compressed Gas Association (BCGA) wants a ban on all consumer sales.
There is currently a review of the UK-wide Independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which advises on drug policy. According to the Times, the police minister, Chris Phillips, wants to fast-track it in April because the government cannot act until it reports its findings.
A review was requested by then Home Secretary Priti Patel in September 2021. The ban has already been approved in the Netherlands due to health fears.
It is believed that the formal announcement will be made as part of the Government’s anti-social behavior strategy, which is set to be published in April. It will likely become law in the summer.
The popularity of gas among the youth comes from its easy availability. This can slow down the brain and body’s response, potentially producing euphoria and giggling fits. Many celebrities have been criticized for being pictured using the drug known as “hippy crack”.
However, its side effects include leg weakness, dizziness and memory loss. Due to lack of oxygen in the body, death occurs due to suffocation.
Further control of the drug was considered by the Advisory Council in 2015, which ruled that it should not be controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in his address on the occasion of New Year emphasized this problem on anti-social behavior. He said that “nitrous oxide in children’s playgrounds … makes life miserable for many”.
Anti-social behavior has already become central to Labour’s policy strategy, with the party believing the government is weak on crime and punishment.
Keir Starr, the Labor leader, has previously said he does not support plans to soften the police’s approach to drug possession.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has been contacted for comment.