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Hanoi bans recreational laughing gas

Thursday, May 30, 2019, 10:37 GMT+7
Hanoi bans recreational laughing gas
People inhale laughing gas using balloons in this Tuoi Tre file photo.

The use of laughing gas for recreational purposes is now illegal in Hanoi after the city’s administration approved a proposal on Wednesday to ban nitrous oxide for non-industrial uses.

Nitrous oxide (N2O), commonly referred to as laughing gas, is a colorless gas that creates a feeling of intoxication when inhaled, according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

Over the past few years, bars, clubs, and eateries throughout the country have sold N20-filled balloons to partygoers at their venues.

In October 2018, Hanoi’s municipal administration sent a letter to the Ministry of Health requesting approval to ban the recreational use of N2O due to its harmful effects on human health.

In a letter sent by the ministry to the Hanoi administration on Wednesday, the agency agreed that banning the gas is a necessary move to protect the health of the city’s residents.

Nitrous oxide should be limited to industrial settings only, the ministry underlined.

Recently, several hospitals have reported people needing treatment for irreparable spinal cord injuries brought about by fits caused by the gas, the ministry added.

Those who use laughing gas for recreation have a tendency to increase their dosage over time, similar to those addicted to other narcotics, according to doctors at Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi.

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