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UK to ban possession of laughing gas

Users often transfer the gas into a balloon but may inhale it directly from the canister. Photo: Gasworld.com

The UK Government has announced that the possession of nitrous oxide popularly known as ‘Laughing gas’ will be criminalised.

Nitrous oxide which is also a party drug gives its user a short, sharp high when inhaled and currently is second to cannabis as the most commonly misused substance among 16 to 24-year-olds in England.

”There will be tighter controls on retail to prevent the supply of nitrous oxide for misuse, and this is the first time its possession will be made criminal”, the government announced.

BBC reports that the ban would be issued under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which regulates drugs based on their perceived harm and potential for misuse.

This development comes as part of measures to crack down on anti-social behaviour. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is to make a further announcement on Monday.

Effects of nitrous oxide to the body

Findings by Sky News showed that there has been an increase in hospital admission caused by people using the substance.

Prolonged use can cause vitamin B12 deficiency, anaemia and nerve damage. Doctors also warn that using laughing gas could lead to spinal injuries.

Writing by Muzha Kucha; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu