The KEI week is kicking off today, and the organisers of the introduction week have announced a ban on laughing gas balloons: any bars in the city that sell nitrous oxide-filled balloons to attendees won’t be allowed to participate in the festivities.
Translation by Matthijs van Houten
In comments made to Dagblad van het Noorden, Remmie Palland, the chairperson of the KEI Week, says that the organisation decided to ban the balloons because the potentially negative impact of the gas on a user’s health is not well understood.
Laughing gas is an increasingly popular party drug in the Netherlands, and a growing number of northern organisations are recommending against its use, such the municipality, Koninklijke Horeca Nederland, UMCG and other regional health institutions. Nevertheless, use of nitrous oxide remains legal, so there is little that can be done to limit people from consuming it.
Laughing gas, whose recreational and medical use can be traced back as far as the late 18th century, reportedly creates a sense of euphoria due to slowing down the body’s reaction time and can cause hallucinations. The gas is also contained in whipped cream dispensers and is known as whippits. It is a colourless, sweet-smelling and sweet-tasting gas. It is intended to be used as an anaesthetic during medical procedures: dentists still use it as a painkiller and in England laughing gas is used for childbirth.