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North Wales Police issue warning to parents over Nitrous Oxide

The Leader logo The Leader 06/02/2023 Calum Snell

Empty nitrous oxide cannisters and 'smartwhips' which have been discarded in Mold. (Image: Mold Town Centre Mold Facebook page) © Provided by The Leader Empty nitrous oxide cannisters and 'smartwhips' which have been discarded in Mold. (Image: Mold Town Centre Mold Facebook page)

CONCERNS have been raised over the recent rise in nitrous oxide cannisters in Flintshire. 

As well as their familiar small silver counter parts, much larger industrial versions of the gas cannisters have been spotted, discarded on the floor.

A Flintshire Council spokesman said: "Flintshire County Council Community and Business Protection service would like to make residents and businesses across the county aware of the dangers of misuse of Nitrous Oxide also known as laughing gas, and to remind businesses that it is against the law to sell it for human consumption. 

"The abuse potential for nitrous oxide is very high and can lead to several adverse and even permanent health effects if abused for a long period of time.


"Nitrous oxide belongs to a class of recreational drugs known as inhalants. Inhalants can be dangerous because they can be commonly found in substances in the home or workplace.

"Inhaling nitrous oxide can result in a lack of oxygen to the brain. This can result in a person falling unconscious and even dying through suffocation or heart problems. This risk is likely to be greater if the gas is consumed in an enclosed space or if a lot is used at the same time.

"Commonly known as 'laughing gas' (or by the nicknames ‘Hippy crack’ or ‘Nos’) nitrous oxide is a colourless non-flammable gas that is generally used for sedation and pain relief.

"It is also sometimes referred to as an inhalant or a volatile substance. Inhalants are central nervous system (CNS) depressants. This means they slow down the workings of the brain, particularly breathing and heart.

"The gas is commonly transferred to a container.

"Because nitrous oxide is a pressurised gas while in the canister, there is a risk of harming yourself if you inhale nitrous oxide straight from the canister.

"The law, since the Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect on 26 May 2016 it has been illegal to supply or import nitrous oxide for human consumption."

As pictured, the cannisters have been a particuarly noticable issue in Mold. Town councillor for the Broncoed Ward, Teresa Carberry said: "In the last few days, there has been a very evident increase in the number of posts on local Facebook groups, regarding concerns about nitrous oxide canisters being found in the area.

"I am not alone in noticing this, and was pleased to be able to direct residents to the information on my Facebook page; this clearly outlines the dangers associated with the gas, as well as the actions being taken within the county to combat this issue."

A North Wales Police spokesperson added: "We continue to work with training standards to educate those selling Nitrous Oxide, as well as substance misuse teams and school liaison officers around the dangers of misusing Nitrous Oxide.

"We are asking our young people to really think about their actions and the possible consequences that using Nitrous Oxide could have.

"Please ask yourself if the risk of inhaling this substance is really worth it? Visit for more information on the risks of this gas.

"We are also asking parents to be vigilant for the signs of nitrous oxide and speak to their young people about the risks associated with it.

"As mentioned, the gas is sold in small silver canisters and is usually inhaled through a balloon.

"So if you have seen paraphernalia in your home which matches these descriptions, please have a conversation and ensure your child is safe.

Residents can contact Flintshire Sorted for advice, support or referrals, contact 01352 703490 (Flintshire Sorted Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team)

More information can be found on the Flintshire County Council website.


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