WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- New York reinforced its 2021 law banning the sale of whipped cream canisters to people under age 21.
- The law aims to prevent minors from inhaling nitrous oxide in canned whipped cream.
- The DEA says 1 in 5 Americans uses inhalants by the time they reach eighth grade.
In New York, it is illegal for those under age 21 to purchase a can of whipped cream, according to a state law passed in November 2021.
The recently-passed law aims to prevent teenagers from using whipped cream canisters to inhale nitrous oxide — known to users as “whippets.” Specifically, the law identifies “whipped cream chargers” – small steel cartridges of nitrous oxide used in whipped cream dispensers, according to the Albany Times Union.
Albany stores have started to ID customers looking to purchase canned whipped cream, NBC 4 New York reported.
“Inhalants are invisible, volatile substances found in common household products that produce chemical vapors that are inhaled to induce psychoactive or mind-altering effects,” according to a US Drug Enforcement Administration factsheet.
Approximately 1 in 5 young people have used inhalants like whippits by the time they reach eighth grade, the DEA said. Abusing inhalants can “cause damage to the parts of the brain that control thinking, moving, vision, and hearing.”
New York State Sen. Joseph Addabbo of Queens said he sponsored the New York law after receiving complaints of empty canisters littering the streets.
“The need to limit the access and sale of whippits first became apparent after receiving constituent complaints about empty canisters on neighborhood streets. Used whippits piling up in our communities are not only an eye sore, but also indicative of a significant nitrous oxide abuse problem,” Addabbo said in an October 2021 statement.
“Nitrous oxide is a legal chemical for legitimate professional use but when used improperly, it can be extremely lethal,” Addabbo added. “Sadly, young people buy and inhale this gas to get ‘high’ because they mistakenly believe it is a ‘safe’ substance. This law will eliminate easy access to this dangerous substance for our youth.”
Stores that will be caught selling whipped cream canisters to someone under 21 will be fined $250 in the first offense, with fines of up to $500 for subsequent violations.
Source: New York Post