“During the recent spell of hot weather, there has been a spate of littering and illegal use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as ‘laughing gas’ with cannisters being discarded in local beauty spots across Lichfield and the rest of the region” says Michael Fabricant. “I would remind local traders that the sale of nitrous oxide cannisters to youngsters under the age of 18 is illegal, if the seller has reason to believe the gas may be inhaled for recreational use, under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985. Traders have a duty of care to be suspicious and a number of prosecutions have occurred up and down the country. Simply saying ‘I didn’t have any suspicions’ is not a legal defence.
“As the Home Office have said, inhaling nitrous oxide can be dangerous, and can lead to loss of blood pressure, fainting and even heart attack. Prolonged exposure to nitrous oxide may also result in bone marrow suppression and poisoning of the central nervous system. These risks are likely to be exacerbated if the exposure to the gas is combined with alcohol or other drugs.
It has been reported to me that the litter not only includes gas cannisters, but also discarded balloons used for inhaling the gas along with beer cans. A dangerous combination – and not very pleasant for others who have to clear up the mess.”