Dr Neil Hudson MP voted last night to make nitrous oxide misuse illegal by the end of the year under a zero-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour. Known as ‘laughing gas’, nitrous oxide will be categorised as a class C drug, with users facing up to two years in prison for breaking the law.
Nitrous oxide is the third most used drug among 16 to 24-year-olds in England and police have reported links to anti-social behaviour – intimidating gatherings on high streets and in children’s parks, and empty canisters strewn across public spaces. Heavy regular use of nitrous oxide can also lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12, a form of anaemia and in more severe cases, nerve damage or paralysis.
Those found in unlawful possession of the drug could face up to two years in prison or an unlimited fine, and up to 14 years for supply or production. There will be exemptions for legitimate uses of nitrous oxide, for example in medical or catering industries.
Damaging the health of young people and causing environmental damage through littering, this vote lays the groundwork for similar restrictions for disposable vapes, which Dr Hudson has been a leading voice in parliament for. You can read Dr Hudson's full thoughts on this issue here.
Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
“I’ve spoken with constituents who are fed up of this drug being abused in public spaces, with users leaving folk to clean up their mess. We need to come together and make sure there is no place for anti-social behaviour in our communities so people can feel safe to live their lives.
“Inappropriate nitrous oxide use is damaging the health of our young folk and blighting our environment. I think it’s incredibly important to have supported this ban as it progresses through Parliament.
“Looking forward, I’m optimistic that we can achieve similar restrictions on disposable vapes which have such detrimental effects on children, the environment and even animals that unwittingly pick these toxic products up in their mouths.”