Hackney bans the sale of Nitrous Oxide


Nitrous Oxide bottle: Pic Stefan Xp

More than 1,200 nitrous gas canisters were confiscated from the pubs and clubs of Shoreditch last Saturday, as Hackney Council banned the sale of the gas on the streets.

The council have resorted to using Section 38 of the London Local Authority Act from 1990, which allows the local authorities to enforce against ‘street exchange’.

About 350,00 people ages 16-24 in Britain used nitrous oxide (better known as laughing gas) in the last year. Nitrous oxide is a gas used to fill balloons, which when inhaled deprives the brain of oxygen making users euphoric and light headed. Although nitrous oxide is legal and used for example in nitrous boost’s for cars, in some circumstances it may be deadly

Earlier this month a Londoner drowned in France after inhaling the gas before going for a swim. In February a 21 year old died from a nitrous overdose shortly after inhaling it when celebrating becoming a father. In 2012 a 17 year old from North London, died from a heart attack and brain damage after inhaling “laughing gas”, which in fact contained other lethal gases

“This so called legal high can be extremely dangerous – it puts people at risk and promotes anti-social behaviour. The empty balloons and nitrous oxide canisters also create a lot of litter in Shoreditch and Dalston, which is frustrating for the residents, Local traders and shoppers” said Feryal Demirici, Hackney Cabinet Member for Neighborhoods

Together with confiscating more than 1,200 canisters the police also fined nine people £150 pounds each, for unauthorized street vending, several also received an extra £80 fine for littering.

“Most people don’t realize the danger that Nitrous Oxide poses to the nervous system before it’s too late, to them its talking in a funny voice, they don’t realize the drastic changes Nitrous has on the brain. While we can’t ban the gas altogether as it is used in cars and other places where its not being abused, we want to scare off any Nitrous Sellers and warn the street peddlers that Nitrous Oxide is not welcome on the streets of Hackney it will be confiscated.

Anyone caught selling Nitrous Oxide will be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £1,000 pounds. Council and Police officials hope that the hefty fines and confiscation of Nitrous.

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