Rising use of nitrous oxide is no laughing matter, say MPs

The rising usage of nitrous oxide is no laughing matter and must be put to an end, MPs have said.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 3:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 4:02 pm

Tory Mark Logan (Bolton North East) said nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, is "becoming the cigarette butts of our time", with small, silver canisters littering public parks and local neighbourhoods.

Responding to Mr Logan's calls for the Government to look at how to end the matter, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said he understood the seriousness of the issue and that MPs will debate the matter on Tuesday July 21.

Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that when inhaled is said to make people feel euphoric and relaxed.

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The rising usage of nitrous oxide is no laughing matter

It is normally bought in pressurised canisters and then transferred to a container, such as a balloon, to be inhaled.

Raising the issue at business questions, Mr Logan said: "Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide as it is also known, is becoming the cigarette butts of our time.

"I'm sure members across the House today, similar to Bolton, are seeing an increasing number of those toxic, silver canisters piling up across their neighbourhoods.

"It is a scourge on our society and no parent wants to see their child exposed to that sea of silver.

"Does (Mr Rees-Mogg) agree with me that we are in need of a new debate as to how to put an end to what is no laughing matter?"

Mr Rees-Mogg replied: "I understand the seriousness of this issue and I sympathise with the point he is making - it is very unpleasant to see this type of litter and he is right to understand the concerns that parents have.

"It is an offence to supply nitrous oxide if the vendor knows or is sufficiently aware of the fact that it will be used for psychoactive effect.

"Concerns about the supply of nitrous oxide for the supply of psychoactive effect can be reported to the police and problems caused by the consumption of intoxicating substances in public places can and should be reported at the local authority.

"I am pleased to say that (Mr Logan) will have the opportunity to put his views directly to ministers at the adjournment debate on Tuesday 21 July on tackling the misuse of nitrous oxide."