A West Midlands politician is calling for a crackdown on the sale of “laughing gas” following fears that a growing number of children and young people are using them to get high.
Residents across the region have reported parks, fields and canal sides littered with disused nitrous oxide gas canisters.
The gas is taken from small silver canisters into balloons and inhaled, which can cause dizziness and impaired judgement, putting users at risk.
UKIP MEP James Carver said: “It removes oxygen from your lungs and replaces it with nitrous oxide, which in extreme cases, can cause unconsciousness or death due to suffocation.
“It concerns me that because young people – especially teenagers – think the effects are funny and they don’t appreciate the risks.
“Also, because they may be using these in out of the way places, if they are badly affected the emergency services may not be able to reach them in time to prevent a tragedy.
“Canisters are also being sold commercially at festivals even though inappropriate use is covered by the Psychoative Substances Act, banning the sale of mind-altering products.
“But the law is flawed, and a couple of court cases have collapsed after successful claims that the gas should be exempt because it is also a painkilling medicine
“I shall be writing to the Home Secretary calling for a review and tightening of the legislation and for a public information campaign to be warn users and sellers of the dangers.”