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Date set for laughing gas to become illegal in the UK

Date set for laughing gas to become illegal in the UK

The unlawful use of nitrous oxide is finally being banned in the UK, the government announced.

The possession of laughing gas will finally become illegal in the UK as part of a government crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

A date has now been set for the day that the substance - also known as nitrous oxide or NOS - will become a class C drug.

I can imagine most Brits, who are mortified by horror stories of health implications as well as being sick of seeing the canisters littering the floor, will welcome the news.

Thousands of young people have succumbed to temptation and ended up becoming hooked on the brief high they provide.

Laughing gas tends to make users feel relaxed or giggly - but pose a serious risks to your health and wellbeing.

Too much nitrous oxide can make you faint, lose consciousness, or suffocate, according to FRANK.

Under existing law, the production, supply and importation of nitrous oxide for its psychoactive effects is illegal, though possession, apart from in custodial setting, is not.

But in a matter of weeks, being found in possession of laughing gas will become a criminal offence.

The possession of nitrous oxide will become illegal in a matter of weeks.
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Rule breakers will be slapped with an unlimited fine, a 'visible' community punishment, or a caution which will appear on their criminal record.

Repeat offenders could even end up facing a two-year prison sentence, the Home Office revealed today (18 October).

The maximum possible sentence for laughing gas dealers has also been doubled to 14 years behind bars.

Don't worry if you're an innocent chef simply using it to whip cream, as there will be exemptions under the new regulations.

People won't have to carry laughing gas licenses, but they will have to prove they are lawfully in possession of the drug.

Ministers have urged producers and suppliers of nitrous oxide to 'be responsible' when selling the product to customers.

Laughing gas will become a controlled Class C drug.
In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Image

The government warned it will be an offence to 'turn a blind eye'.

The new regulations will come into force on November 8, which is just three weeks away.

Users and dealers will both 'face the full force of the law' if caught, crime and policing minister Chris Philp has said.

"We are delivering on the promise we made to take a zero-tolerance approach towards anti-social behaviour and flagrant drug taking in our public spaces," he said.

"Abuse of nitrous oxide is also dangerous to people's health and today, we are sending a clear signal to young people that there are consequences for misusing drugs."

Featured Image Credit: Matthew Horwood/In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Image

Topics: Crime, Drugs, Health, UK News, Politics