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  • Thursday, 28 September 2023

UK to make laughing gas illegal by end of year

UK to make laughing gas illegal by end of year

Image Souce: Sky News


The UK is set to make laughing gas (nitrous oxide / NOS) a class C drug by the end of the year.  


The changing of laughing gas to a class C is part of the government's attempt to manage anti-social behaviour and will see it go from only sales for recreational use being banned to possession being banned as well. Plans to ban the substance were announced earlier in the year, with the details of the change to the law coming out this week following increases in hospitalisations as a result of complications from consumption. The maximum sentence for supplying is set to increase to 14 years, with hefty fines or jail time awaiting users of the drug. 


Nitrous oxide is currently one of the most commonly used recreational drugs for young adults, and is typically used for its calming effects, but over consumption can result in severe complications such as paralysis, damage to the nerves and spinal cord, and death in severe cases. An increase of laughing gas use during the pandemic has also seen over 12,000 canisters be collected from Notting Hill Carnival last week, amounting to 13 tonnes of waste. 


Some concerns have been raised about how this will impact industries that have a legitimate use of nitrous oxide, including the catering and medical industries where it is used for both cooking and medical treatment, but assurances have been made that exceptions to the law will be made for these areas. However it is unclear as to what the protocols for these situations will be.

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