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Google must follow Amazon’s lead to cease sale of laughing gas in Ireland – Higgins

82,000 cannisters seized so far in 2021

16th September 2021 - Emer Higgins, TD

Online giant Google must follow Amazon’s decision to stop selling harmful nitrous oxide in Ireland, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Mid-West, Deputy Emer Higgins, has welcomed Amazon’s decision to stop selling nitrous oxide – also called laughing gas – here. It produces a high when inhaled by users but is also lethal and can lead to death.

“I think access is a huge issue,” said Deputy Higgins. “It’s far too easy for anyone of any age with access to the internet to pop online and order nitrous oxide to their home in just a couple of clicks. So, I really welcome that Amazon will no longer be selling this substance in Ireland.

“Amazon have made this decision due to concerns around the safe transportation of nitrous oxide, but nevertheless, it will have some impact on the ease of access to the substance online. I’m now calling on Google to follow suit and prevent advertising of nitrous oxide on their platforms.

“It’s unacceptable that the company is profiteering from this by selling ads for the gas and I will be writing to them to take action on this urgently.

“I have been informed via a parliamentary question that Revenue had eight seizures of nitrous oxide in 2020, consisting of 33,600 canisters and five seizures consisting of 82,200 canisters in 2021.

“Nitrous oxide obviously has legitimate uses, particularly in catering for the purpose of whipping cream, but Revenue only carry out these seizures when they believe the product has not been purchased for legitimate use and the seizure of over 100,000 cannisters is a very concerning amount.

“Nitrous oxide or ‘laughing gas’ is the 10th most popular illegal drug in the world according to the 2019 Global Drug Survey and its use as a drug is becoming increasingly popular in setting such as festivals.

“During lockdown, I also noticed a definite increase in these small silver cannisters, littering local parks and woodlands.

“It’s far from harmless, last year it was added to the HSE’s official list of dangerous drugs and there are reports of a growing number of people being admitted to hospital with brain damage and paralysis, because of nitrous oxide.

“I really welcome that Amazon will no longer be selling nitrous oxide in Ireland and I hope Google will follow suit and stop advertising it also,” concluded Deputy Higgins.


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