The Chief Executive of the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA), Doug Thornton, has urged those who are role models to the youth of today to “take more responsibility for what they do.”
The statement comes after Tottenham Hotspurs and England defender Kyle Walker was forced to apologise after pictures were published on Sunday of him inhaling nitrous oxide at a bar while on a night out in June.
The 23-year-old, who played for England at Wembley in the country’s 4-0 Wold Cup qualifying victory over Moldova on Friday, took to Twitter to publically apologise for his conduct.
He wrote, “Apologies for not commenting sooner on a story about me today. I’ve been training and am focused on Tuesday’s game for England.
“Now I know the health risks, it was poor judgement on my part.”
“I won’t be doing this again and hope that no one else is influenced into putting their health at risk by my actions.”
However, the BCGA Chief has said, “’Sadly this is not the first time we have seen ‘celebrities’ inhaling gases for fun and in the public view. Despite the ‘laughing gas’ misnoma, inhaling nitrous oxide is no laughing matter and is certainly not harmless.”
“It can cause immediate death by asphyxiation, leave the user open to all manner of risks while intoxicated and long term abuse will lead to permanent brain, nerve and liver damage.”
“As role models for youngsters, footballers, TV presenters and the like need to take more responsibility for what they do. Mr Walker seems now to have realised how stupid his stunt was - pity he didn’t think that earlier.”
The newspapers reported that on the night those at the venue in Sheffield recalled seeing Walker footing the bill as he and a group of his friends “downed champagne and passed around small silver canisters of the gas.”
The FA has released a statement on the incident. It said, “Kyle Walker has expressed his regret for an error of judgement when inhaling Nitrous Oxide earlier this year.”
“The FA and the England manager have spoken to Kyle about the matter and he has assured us it will not happen again.”
“Inhaling Nitrous Oxide is not illegal, but we recognise the associated dangers. Kyle has accepted this mistake. He will not face any action under the England Player Code of Conduct.”
“The FA and England manager will not be making any further comment on this matter and will be focusing their full attention on tonight’s match with Ukraine.”