Trade body urges festival organisers to take action on gas abuse

As the 2018 festival season gets underway, the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA) is appealing to event organisers to take a robust stance against gas abuse.

The national trade body is calling on festival organisers to prevent Nitrous Oxide getting onto their sites and help block its dangerous use.

Supplying the gas for inhalation (without appropriate medical licence and qualified supervision) is now an offence under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, and the BCGA is keen to see offences punished by the courts.

Doug Thornton, Chief Executive of the BCGA, said: "The recreational use of Nitrous Oxide has always been dangerous and has caused many deaths. The relatively new law has already had good effect in curbing the activities of those who would profit from the misery which substance abuse causes and we hope the message starts to get through that inhaling Nitrous Oxide is anything but harmless fun.

"The law now needs to be enforced vigorously and festival organisers provide robust actions to ban supplies of the gas getting into their events, particularly in the small 8g mini-canister ‘bullets', which are so easy to buy and to hide in pockets and bags. Organisers should also consider their own Public Liability risk and insurance in this.'

According to the BCGA, the misuse of Nitrous Oxide - which is often referred to as ‘Laughing Gas' can lead to serious health issues and even death.

Mr Thornton added: "It can put users at all manner of risks with their judgement, thinking and motor functions impaired. Repeated use can also interfere with complex biochemistry in the body to do irreversible damage to the brain, central nervous system and liver.

The most obvious risk is immediate death by simple asphyxiation if users inhale too much. But, before the ‘'hypoxic' (partial starvation of Oxygen to the brain) condition which induces the intended euphoric feeling, it can also cause heart arrest. Many deaths have occurred this way.

"We don't like the name ‘Laughing Gas' as suggests it is fun to inhale and trivialises the risks, but it is absolutely not safe to inhale and there have been too many deaths resultant from its abuse."


Press release issued by Jane Shepherd, Shepherd PR - 01335 368020

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. With a commitment to stringent quality, safety and environmental measures, BCGA members employ 19,000 people directly and account for an annual turnover of £2.7 billion.

Members of BCGA operate in a highly-regulated industry and work together on technical, safety, health and environmental issues to achieve high standards of integrity and environmental care, both within their own and customers' working environments.

BCGA promotes safety practice through its publications and also participates in the preparation and revision of National, European and International Standards.

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