Retailers in New York have begun to enforce a year-old state law banning the sale of whipped cream canisters to anyone under 21.
The law was passed last year amid concern that teenagers are increasingly getting high by inhaling the nitrous oxide used as a propellant in the canisters. Nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” is a dissociative anesthetic that can be inhaled by discharging nitrous gas cartridges known as “whippets,” according to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation. In addition to short-lived euphoria, the drug can also cause loss of blood pressure, fainting, heart attack and sudden death. Potential long-term effects include memory loss and psychosis.
According to the new ban, the first offense of selling whipped cream canisters to someone under 21 comes with a $250 fine, with fines of up to $500 for subsequent violations.
The bill banning the sale of whipped cream canisters to teenagers was sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who said he supported the measure after he became aware of the detrimental effect nitrous oxide was having on his district.
Some stores in New York will start flagging whipped cream canisters as age-restricted products beginning Sept. 1, and others have already started enforcing the ban.