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Nitrous oxide banned in the UK

The government has changed the law meaning it is now illegal to possess nitrous oxide to 'get high' with, making it a Class C drug.

It was already illegal to supply it to someone else for them to get high with. But now anyone who uses nitrous oxide to get high is committing a crime. This could mean an unlimited fine, a community punishment or a caution which would appear on their criminal record. Someone who gets caught with a supply of nitrous oxide many times could even get a prison sentence of up to two years. The penalty for supply (including social and professional settings) has also increased with up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

This change in the law has been made because of concerns about the health risks of using the gas and because it often gets used in children’s playgrounds and other public places with empty canisters left on the ground.

There are still legal uses for nitrous oxide including in hospitals and at the dentist but it is up to the person who is found with it to show they have it for a legal reason.

If you or someone you know have nitrous oxide canisters that you don’t have a legal use for, you can find out how to get rid of them by reading your local council’s guidelines

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