Laughing gas cylinder sales blocked on Bol.com

Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, canisters on the street
Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, canisters on the street. Photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg / Wikimedia Commons

Online store Bol.com stopped selling laughing gas cylinders, meant to be use for whipped cream sprayers. The canisters are increasingly used in combination with balloons or N2O crackers as drugs, and Bol.com therefore finds it irresponsible to keep selling them, a spokesperson confirmed to NH Nieuws.

Laughing gas canisters were removed from Bol.com's assortment last month. "We sell a total of 16 million items. We sell everything, as long as the article is not prohibited by law. Sometimes we make an exception, for example if an article is controversial and/or we expect that something will be changed in the law in the short term", the spokesperson said. "As the canisters are becoming more and more discredited and at the end of last year it was announced that more stringent requirements will be added to the Commodities act regarding the purchase of laughing gas, we decided last month to no longer sell these articles."

It is not yet clear whether other retailers will follow Bol.com's example. AD could not reach Blokker, n2oballon.nl or Horecaworld for comment.

Laughing gas as a drug has grown in popularity in the Netherlands over the past years. A massive 53.5 percent of the nightlife crowd have inhaled the gas - nitrous dioxide - at least once, and 37 percent of this group did so in the past year, AD reports. 

The use of these laughing gas canisters cause a short-lasting, but intense high. Consciousness decreases, and users may experience dizziness or headaches due to the temporary lack of oxygen. Confusion, nausea, numbness or tingling and fainting are also known to happen. These effects are further enhanced with the use of alcohol and other drugs. 

A recent study by the Trimbos Institute and the Bonger Institute showed that using laughing gas in this way is not without danger. The institutes found that the long term effects of laughing gas can include concentration problems, fatigue and dizziness. These side effects show up more often with increasing quantities and frequency of laughing gas use. Laughing gas is also very addictive. This study was reason enough for Minister Bruo Bruins for Medical Care to call for a ban on selling laughing gas canisters to minors. 

Tags: