17 October 2022

The UK’s trade body for the compressed gases sector has written to newly appointed Home Secretary, Suella Braverman MP, urging her to consider a ban on retail sales of Nitrous Oxide.

The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) has been campaigning for direct-to-consumer sales to be axed since March 2020.

In September last year, former Home Secretary Priti Patel announced a request had been made to the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) to review of Nitrous Oxide and its status in law.

BCGA Chief Executive, Ellen Daniels, outlined the organisation’s on-going campaign to halt consumer sales of so-called ‘laughing gas’ while protecting its use in medical, industrial and catering settings.

Ms Daniels said: “After cannabis, Nitrous Oxide is the most commonly used substance among 16 to 24-year-olds and misusing it can cause permanent damage to the central nervous system including loss of peripheral feeling, loss of motor control and paralysis.

“In some cases, it can be fatal.

“We congratulate the new Home Secretary on her appointment and hope that she will continue to engage with us regarding the health and social harms posed by Nitrous Oxide and consider whether retail sales of the gas should be banned.”

In 2019, half a million young people had used Nitrous Oxide, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and 12% of substance-related deaths mentioned nitrogen or nitrous oxide on the death certificate: Deaths related to volatile substances and helium in Great Britain – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

The BCGA previously worked with Government to ensure the supply of Nitrous Oxide for inhalation without an appropriate medical licence and qualified supervision became an offence under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

The BCGA is the UK membership body for the compressed gases sector. Its members employ 19,000 people directly and account for an annual turnover of £2.7 billion.

Committed to stringent quality, safety and environmental measures, BCGA members operate in a highly-regulated industry, with a focus on best practice in technical, safety, health and environmental issues.

The BCGA has a webpage dedicated to gas abuse: Gas Abuse – (bcga.co.uk) where a leaflet outlining the dangers of misusing Nitrous Oxide can be downloaded.



Notes To Editors – About BCGA

The ‘invisible industry’ underpinning a safe, successful and healthy nation – industrial and medical gases are essential to the existence and wellbeing of thousands of people in the UK every day.

Industrial gases perform a wide-ranging role, supporting the manufacture of information technology, as well as key UK industrial sectors including steelmaking, refining, welding, chemical processing and electronics. They also help keep homes warm, water clean and food nutritious, appealing and affordable – while medical gases play a critical role in applications including respiratory care, pain therapies and anaesthesia.

The British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) is the UK membership body for this critical industry.

Press release issued by Jane Shepherd, Shepherd PR Limited, 01538 308685, 07985 129315.