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Hanoi Authorities Ban Recreational Use of Laughing Gas

All recreational use of laughing gas is now illegal in Hanoi following a decision from the city’s administration.

Over the last year, opposition to the drug has grown in Vietnam. In 2018, Hanoi’s municipal administration sent a letter to the Ministry of Health asking for a ban due to health concerns. Last week, the ministry acknowledged the need for more stringent regulations. And finally, this Wednesday, Hanoi authorities approved a proposal that bans all non-industrial use of the narcotic, Tuoi Tre reports.

Until this week, numerous cafes, bars and clubs across the capital sold the drug, also known as nitrous oxide, to partygoers. Over the last few years, in particular, the drug’s popularity has soared.

When inhaled, nitrous oxide has anesthetic and hallucinating effects. It’s usually used in hospitals and in food production as an aerosol propellant. Many countries prohibit human consumption of the gas, but food-grade nitrous oxide canisters, like those containing whipped cream, are available for purchase without a permit.

Until recently, Vietnam only regulated the production and sale of the drug. Illegal production and selling of the gas can result in fines from VND12 million to VND20 million.

Every day, the Poison Control Center of the capital’s Bach Mai Hospital receives a few patients due to laughing gas-related health issues, Hanoi Moi reports. Its toxicity can lead to neural damage, vertigo and difficulty breathing, according to hospital staff.

In 2018, one person died in Hanoi after inhaling laughing gas and drowning in a swimming pool. 

[Photo via The Independent]

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