No laughing matter – time to ban laughing gas


Ireland should follow the example of the Netherlands and ban laughing gas for recreational use, a local TD has said. TD for Dublin Mid West, Deputy Emer Higgins, has voiced her support for a ban on laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide. Deputy Higgins said, “From January 2023 in the Netherlands, the sale, import, or possession of laughing gas will be banned with a couple of exceptions such as food production or legitimate medical use. “I think a ban is something we also need to start looking at here in Ireland to address the growing use of laughing gas among Irish young people and the potential damage it can do.

“I often get complaints from constituents about the littering of these tiny silver canisters around local streets and parks. More recently, the smaller canisters have been replaced with large laughing gas cylinders which are now littering the streets as well. “While litter is a legitimate concern, beyond that, there can also be a very sinister side to the use of laughing gas. “Research from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) found that one in four Irish people had used laughing gas before with 5.5% of the 18-24 age group in Ireland saying that they had used it in the last 12 months. “The number of people hospitalised due to nitrous oxide use doubled to 10 people in 2021, compared with the previous year, with possible side effects ranging from dizziness to vitamin B12 depletion, memory loss, long-term nerve damage in the body or even asphyxiation.”

Deputy Higgins added: “The cheap and widespread availability of these tiny canisters of nitrous oxide is also a massive factor in their popularity because buying them online or through social media channels is so easy now. “But suppliers are specifically catering for recreational use by selling these larger cylinders users which is really concerning. “The Gardaí have reported that they are seeing an increase in the use of laughing gas so it’s only a matter of time before we see a marked increase in young people. We need to investigate banning it just as the government in the Netherlands have done. “We need to get ahead of this before it becomes an even bigger problem,” concluded Deputy Higgins.

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Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at



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