New Yorkers can no longer buy whipped cream if they’re under 21

New age restriction aims to crack down on huffing by teens

It is now illegal for New Yorkers under the age of 21 to purchase a can of pressurized whipped cream.

The law was passed in November 2021, as empty whipped cream cans started to liter the streets. Officials soon discovered that teenagers were using canned whipped cream to inhale nitrous oxide — aka “whippets.”

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“Nitrous oxide is a legal chemical for legitimate professional use but when used improperly, it can be extremely lethal,” said New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo in an October 2021 statement.

According to the DEA, about 1 in 5 young people use or have used inhalants by the time they reach the eight grade. Common inhalants include canned whipped cream, glue, lighter fluid, cleaning fluids and paint products.

Inhalants are quickly dissolved into the bloodstream and travel to the brain and other vital organs. The stimulation from an inhalant will leave the person feeling high if used lightly, on other occasions someone could lose consciousness.

Symptoms of long-tern inhalant use include:

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Disorientation
  • Inattentiveness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Irritability
  • Depression

There are many signs to look for in children who might be using inhalants:

  • Spots or sores around the mouth
  • Red or runny eyes and nose
  • Chemical odors on the breath
  • Appearing dazed, drunk or dizzy
  • Short tempered or irritable
  • Lose of appetite
  • Stains or paint on clothing
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Inhalants are on the rise among young people because they are inexpensive and easy to access. They can cause asphyxiation, suffocation, choking and even coma or death. The new law will issue a civil penalty of up to $250 for an initial offense and up to $500 for each subsequent offense according to the New York Senate website.

“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,” said Addabbo.