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Turner calls for public education on nitrous oxide

Turner calls for public education on nitrous oxide use

United Future deputy leader Judy Turner today applauded the decision to make it illegal to buy or sell nitrous oxide to inhale, saying that there should also be a public education campaign on the very real dangers of using it.

“Making it illegal is an excellent move, but it would be naïve in the extreme to think that the problem - and it is a real problem - would then disappear,” Mrs Turner said.

“There is a myth out there among young people that this gas is harmless. It is anything but and we need to disavow them of that view. Legislation alone doesn’t do that,” she said.

“To the uninformed, the term ‘oxide’ appears to give the impression that they are getting some kind of oxygen buzz. They are not. In fact, nitrous oxide contains no oxygen that can be accessed by the body any more than the water can be breathed because it contains oxygen.

“The reality is that breathing it in leads to oxygen depletion - which is dangerous. When used for anaesthesia, it is mixed with oxygen.”

She said it was also addictive and depresses consciousness - a particular danger for driving.

Mrs Turner said that because it was a multi-use product, industrial-use nitrous oxide, unlike purified medical nitrous oxide, can contain toxic contaminants, further endangering the health of those who misuse it.

“A public education campaign would get those messages out to those who need them - young people using it,” she said.

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