Nitrous Oxide, or ‘laughing gas’ is now the second most common recreational drug after cannabis in the UK. Users can easily buy balloons of the gas at festivals or in nightclubs where they are readily and legally available or they can make their own using ‘whippits’ – small compressed gas cannisters that are used to whip cream. Readily available from cook shops these small gas containers are attached to larger cannisters containing unwhipped cream and then discharged – the gas passes through the cream and on the depression of a lever out pops some freshly whipped cream. Users leave out the cream and attach a balloon over the aperture where the whipped cream would have appeared – the balloon fills with N2O and the user can then inhale it. It is laughing gas and so it causes uncontrollable laughter – it also deactivates any B12 the user has in his or her body.
This is a serious problem as it is both legal and growing in popularity. It’s not new as Victorians used to hold Laughing Gas Parties (well they had to make their own entertainment didn’t they) and it is readily available and very cheap. Before this year’s Glastonbury festival an appeal was made to stop revellers using the sacred space of the King’s Meadow as the preferred gathering point for N2O users – the previous year over 2 tonnes of the small cannisters were recovered by hand. If each used cannister weighs say 100gms that means there were over 20,000 cannisters recovered from one field alone, in just one festival – in a long summer of festivals.
And just one more time – N2O deactivates the bodies stores of Vitamin B12……
And just one other thing to take into consideration – N2O is a greenhouse gas which is 298 times more polluting than carbon dioxide
You’re having a laugh surely!