News 26 March 2023

Nitrous oxide to be banned under new government plans

26 March 2023

In a bid to crackdown on anti-social behaviour, nitrous oxide is set to be banned under new plans.

The measures were confirmed by Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme this morning (March 26).

“Antisocial behaviour can ruin lives,” Mr Gove said when confirming the ban. “I think anyone who has the opportunity to walk through our parks in our major cities will have seen these little silver canisters, which are examples of people not only spoiling public spaces but taking a drug which can have a psychological and neurological effect and one that contributes to antisocial behaviour overall.”

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is the second most commonly used drug among people in the 16-24 age group after cannabis. It will be banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 but ministers are yet to decide what drug classification level it will be set at.

When asked if people will receive criminal records for taking laughing gas, Gove said ministers want to make sure they “deal with the scourge” of cannisters.

He added: “We can’t have a situation, we mustn’t have a situation where our drugs, our public spaces become drug taking arenas and that is why we need to do crackdown on new manifestations of drug taking.

“These laughing gas canisters are an increasing scourge, and one that has been reported to me as a constituency MP.”

News of the nitrous oxide ban comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak prepares to announce new measures to combat anti-social behaviour tomorrow. The plan aims to establish a “zero-tolerance approach where offenders know they will face the full consequences of their actions”.

[Image: Lois GoBe via Shutterstock]