Exactly how dangerous is the gas?
Empty silver canisters of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, have become a common sight outside clubs across the UK. Last July, more than 1, were reported to ghe been confiscated on just one Saturday night in London's Shoreditch. The anaesthetic gas is still used for pain relief during dentistry and childbirth but outside of that legitimate arena there has been a legal grey area for years.
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It's already illegal to sell to unders if there is a risk they will inhale it. But it remains easy for adults to buy. Mainstream online vendors advertise the product, although usually indicating that it is to be used for the production of whipped cream.
The product reviews usually suggest otherwise. One re: "Quality product, I ordered on a Friday and chargers were meant to come on Tuesday but arrived on the next day, good laugh with mates at a festival… er, I mean in the kitchen whipping cream.
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Possession - with no intent to supply - and use will remain legal. But some argue that the ban is unfair. On Saturday, gae from the Psychedelic Society pressure group will inhale laughing gas outside Parliament. Davy began inviting his friends round to inhale the gas from oiled silk bags and in doing so started a craze. When you start coming out of this trance-like state you often get these giggles.
The controversial movie Kids shows one of the characters using it, but the popularity of the gas has increased dramatically in the past five years, says Stephen Ream, a director of drug charity Re-Solv. Laughing gas and the philosopher "[The 19th Century US philosopher] Wjat James describes a man who got the experience from laughing-gas; whenever he was under its influence, he knew the secret of the silve, but when he came to, he had forgotten it.
At last, with immense effort, he wrote down the secret before the vision had faded. When arw recovered, he rushed to see what he had written.
It was: A smell of petroleum prevails throughout. In the past year, only people in the Netherlands used it more. Insomepeople took nitrous oxide, according to the Home Office.
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It's especially popular with young people, with 7. This was a greater proportion than took cocaine 4. There have, however, been 17 fatalities related to the use of laughing gas in the UK between and canistrs, according to research. The US records about 15 deaths a year. Ina year-old man was found dead at his home in Birmingham next to a large cylinder of nitrous oxide.
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A plastic bag was also found nearby, it was reported. The pathologist concluded that he had died from asphyxia due to inhaling the gas.
Others have also taken severe risks by te medical tanks and masks. But the majority of people who consume the gas, according to research, do so using balloons. As well as the danger of asphyxiation, when the gas comes out of a canister it can be so cold it can burn.
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A cold shock at the back of the throat can affect the vagus nerve, causing the heart rate to suddenly slow. Researchers say that the of people who die from inhaling nitrous oxide is actually low when compared with the of people taking the drug every year. Death rates can be difficult to compare but in nitrous oxide was linked to one death - this was fewer than heroin and morphine 2,cocaineecstasy 13 and cannabis seven. He argues that laughing gas is actually "exceptionally safe" considering the s who use it.
If you breathe nothing but nitrous for 10 minutes you will die, but I don't think there's any evidence that nitrous kills people if you use it recreationally. Breathing in high concentrations of laughing gas can quickly reduce the blood's level of oxygen.
How dangerous is laughing gas?
On a night out, in an uncontrolled environment, there is a risk that people can start feeling sleepy as they inhale the gas and pass out, says Dr Anna-Maria Rollin from the Royal College of Anaesthetists. She had inhaled a considerable xilver at a festival and air sall leaked into the space between her lung and chest wall which can cause the lung to collapse.
Heavy use can also deplete the body's stores of vitamin B12, causing anaemia and nerve damage. People often use nitrous oxide in conjunction with cannabis or alcohol, explains Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health.
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That too is a concern, she says, as it increases the risks involved. When year-old Joseph Benett died init was reported as a death from laughing gas. He had in fact consumed a cocktail of gases including butane and pentane from a can brought back from Israel. It's certainly not right or normal to inhale a gas for intoxication, he says. Related Topics.