Time Out reports that the law was passed to help fight a disturbing trend amongst teenagers: getting high by inhaling the nitrous oxide inside canisters of whipped cream, a.k.a. doing whippets. As a result of the law, starting this month, shops that are caught selling canned whipped cream to anyone under 21 will be charged a $250 fine.
Democratic State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who pushed for the bill last year, recalled receiving complaints from his constituents in the Bronx who would come across empty whipped cream canisters.
"This new law is an important step in [combating] a significant problem for many neighborhoods throughout my district," said Addabbo, according to Time Out. "[The] need to limit the access and sale of [whippets] first became apparent [to me] after [I had been] receiving constituent complaints about empty canisters on neighborhood streets. Used [whippets] piling up in our communities are not only an eyesore but also indicative of a significant nitrous oxide abuse problem."
According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF), inhaling nitrous dioxide can cause euphoria and giddiness, but it can also lead to much more serious problems, including blurred vision, confusion, dizziness, sweating, and even sudden death. The ADF adds that the effects of the gas "may be felt almost immediately and can last for a few minutes."
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