New campaign to warn Lancashire youngsters of the dangers of 'legal high' laughing gas

A new campaign has been launched to warn Lancashire youngsters of the dangers of nitrous oxide – so-called ‘laughing gas’.

Lancashire County Council is launching the new digital campaign Where’s the Harm? – Nitrous Oxide. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the harms associated with inhaling nitrous oxide gas, also known as laughing gas. It is primarily aimed at young people but also offers supporting information for parents. Various messages will be shared on digital platforms.

Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas, mostly found in pressurised metal canisters for the purposes of food production. Supply of nitrous oxide for recreational drug use is illegal. This means anyone found to be selling, possessing to sell, or giving away nitrous oxide to be inhaled as a drug could face up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine. It is legal to possess for personal use – but usage does come with risks.

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Nitrous oxide is inhaled by transferring gas from small silver canisters into a container (usually a balloon). The empty canisters have become a familiar sight on streets and in parks across Lancashire.

The new campaign is a digital drive to warn youngsters of the dangers of nitrous oxide.

WATCH: The moment police raid woodland rave near Chorley, find laughing gas canisters strewn across the floor.It can cause dizziness, nausea, hallucinations and acts as a depressant. Mixing nitrous oxide with other substances increases the risks, as do underlying health conditions, and improper use. For instance, inhaling directly from the canister can cause suffocation, frostbite and even death.

County Councillor Michael Green, LCC cabinet member for health and wellbeing, added “Whilst it might look like fun and everyone looks to be having a good time, young people who take these substances are taking exceptional risks with their health. Heavy regular use can have a long-term impact including possible anaemia and nerve damage. It is important that young people and their parents are aware of these dangers.”

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• Laughing gas might be considered a legal high but there are still risks involved;

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The discarded small silver canisters of nitrous oxide have become a common sight. This picture was sent in by a reader of a host of them discarded near Bamber Bridge, Preston

• Heavy regular use can have a long-term impact on health including possible anaemia and nerve damage;

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• Lancashire Trading Standards are spearheading the campaign in order to raise awareness of the harm of taking “laughing gas”.