Manhattan, IL — The Village of Manhattan is poised to introduce a local ordinance targeting vape shops that sell nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, for recreational use.
This measure is in direct response to concerns over the substance’s health risks and potential for abuse.
Officials, including Mayor Mike Adriansen and the Manhattan Police Department, have taken steps to address the issue after parents reported the availability of nitrous oxide to minors.
“As a parent of two children, I was not aware that this dangerous substance was being sold in our community,” Adriansen said. “By passing this ordinance, we hope to make the general public aware of the issue and the hazards of nitrous oxide abuse.”
Nitrous oxide, often referred to as laughing gas, has been used since the mid-19th century as a common sedative due to its fast-acting and short-duration effects. The recreational use of nitrous oxide can lead to serious side effects. Immediate effects can include sedation, euphoria, dizziness, and confusion. Long-term or excessive use may lead to severe health problems such as memory impairment, vitamin B12 inactivation — which can cause brain and spinal cord damage — numbness in the hands or feet, weakened immune system, anemia, incontinence, and limb spasms. Frequent use also carries a risk of psychological effects like depression and psychosis.
Officials have reached out to State Rep. Anthony DeLuca of the 80th District, who is actively working on legislation to amend the criminal code of 2012. The proposed amendment would prohibit the retail sales of nitrous oxide in Illinois, classifying such an offense as a Class 3 felony.