What Is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas with a sweetish odor, it is often referred to as ‘nos,’ ‘nitrous’ or ‘laughing gas’ and is commonly used in the catering and automotive industries. It is often seen in the form of small 8g gas chargers, sometimes referred to as ‘whipits’ or ‘nangs’ and can give a euphoric, happy feeling when inhaled.

Box of nos chargers

A box of nos chargers

Is Nitrous Oxide Illegal?

Under the UK Psychoactive Substances Act which came into effect on 26 May 2016, it is illegal to supply nitrous oxide for human consumption.

This means it is illegal to sell nitrous oxide with the knowledge that someone will misuse it i.e selling it in balloons.

Nitrous oxide does however have many legitimate uses in the catering industry and can be legally purchased from site such as Amazon and eBay.

What are the risks?

While nitrous oxide is not fundamentally toxic in the same way as drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, misuse of nitrous oxide i.e inhaling it can still have detrimental effects.

>Heavy, regular use of nitrous oxide can lead to deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anaemia.

>Breathing in nitrous oxide for long periods of time without a break can cause unconsciousness or in rare cases even death as it staves the brain of oxygen.

More information on nitrous oxide can be found here.

Please note

we do not condone the misuse of nitrous oxide. All references to the inhalation of nitrous oxide are for harm reduction purposes only.