Nitrous oxide balloons

No laughing matter: Nitrous oxide balloons 'can kill'Laughing gas is not illegal and has become popular recreationally for its relaxing effects (Picture: Getty Images)

A health warning against the recreational use of nitrous oxide, colloquially known as ‘laughing gas’, has been issued amid warnings regular use can be fatal.

According to medical professionals, inhaling ‘balloons’ can lead to oxygen deprivation, causing a drop in blood pressure that can result in fainting or even heart attacks.

Primarily used as an anaesthetic in medicine, most commonly by dentists, the drug has now become popular recreationally for its relaxing qualities and highs lasting a period of seconds.

And the Local Government Association (LGA) that represents 400 councils nationwide has issued a warning regarding its dangerous effects.

Nevertheless, the drug remains legal to inhale, and approximately half a million young people in the UK regularly use nitrous oxide.

Katie Hall, the chairperson of the LGA’s Wellbeing board, said: ‘It is deeply disturbing that this drug, which can be highly dangerous, is still widely viewed as safe.

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