July 20, 2009

First cigarettes, now whippets?

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More L.A. middle schoolers are doing whippets than smoking pot, according to new surveys spotlighted by the Los Angeles Times’ Carla Rivera.  

Whippets are cartridges of nitrous oxide used to make whipped cream at home — or, increasingly, used by teens to get high.  They releasing the gas into a balloon and inhale-exhale-inhale it from there until they fall over with ringing ears, laughing uncontrollably.  Short term effects also include nausea, drowsiness and a migraine-like headache.

Others inhale the nitrous oxide directly from the canister, possibly damaging their lungs with the uncontrolled speed and cold temperature of the inhalant.  Either way, continued use can lead to death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest, brain damage, lack of motor control and numbness.

If new legislation passes a California Senate vote in August, the sale and distribution of whippets may be restricted to adults.

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