Unauthorized possession is threatened with imprisonment for up to two years, as the Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday. According to the PA news agency, nitrous oxide is one of the most common intoxicants used by 16-24 year olds in England.
Laughing gas (nitrous oxide) can be used in medicine as an anesthetic, but is also found in cream dispenser capsules, for example. When sniffing – for example directly from capsules or balloons – a brief intoxication occurs.
Britain is not the first country to tighten the rules. The Netherlands have already banned the possession and sale of nitrous oxide with a few exceptions, and Denmark has also issued stricter regulations. Paris had also tightened the rules in parts of the city to protect young people from health hazards.
The remaining cartridges also create waste. According to the PA, thousands of containers had to be disposed of at the Notting Hill Carnival, a major street festival in London. “British people are fed up with bullies who do drugs in public spaces and leave a disgraceful mess for others to clean up,” Home Secretary Suella Braverman said, according to the news agency.