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Laughing gas sales are up by 400 per cent in the Netherlands

Even stores are selling canisters over the counter

  • Louis Anderson-Rich
  • 15 August 2017

Laughing gas, nos, nangs, balloons. There’s always someone walking round selling them at dance music events, right? That sharp exhale of gas and the inevitable breathing in and out of a balloon have become as much as a part of a festival soundtrack as sunny disco and thumping techno.

In the Netherlands, it’s truly been a few summers of nitrous oxide with the BBC investigating its explosion in popularity that has seen a 400 per cent rise in the sale of canisters over the last two years.

A recent law change means laughing gas is no longer classed as a medicine, a move that’s seen a surge of new companies selling canisters online. They’re even sold over the counter at chain store Blokker.

Speaking to the BBC, a regular user said: "I got my first balloon here in Holland last summer. Nobody was taking it then. This year it's huge, huge. I'm seeing canisters lying around on the street."

Laughing gas was made illegal in the UK last year along with all other legal highs. Lambeth Council in London also threatened people with fines of £1000.

[Photo: Richard Marsham]

Louis Anderson-Rich is Mixmag's Digital Intern. Follow him on Twitter

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