Home Office responds to call for retail sales ban on nitrous oxide


The UK Home Office has responded to a call from trade body the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) to impose a sales ban on nitrous oxide (N2O), saying that it will consider council advice before deciding how to proceed.

A highly versatile substance, the colourless gas is used across a range of applications including electronics manufacturing, anaesthetics, as a food and beverage propellant and as a fuel oxidiser for rockets and racing cars.

Often referred to as laughing gas, N2O is also increasingly being used by young Brits looking to take advantage of the gas’s euphoria-inducing properties. Although clinically safe when used as an anaesthetic, when used recreationally it carries the risk of psychosis, depression, heart attack and even sudden death.

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