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’Funky balls’ face Hà Nội ban

Update: February, 16/2017 - 05:00
A group of youngsters inhale nitrous oxide from balloons on a street in Hà Nội. — Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – The sale of nitrous oxide and nitrous oxide-filled balloons might be temporarily banned in Hà Nội, said Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Hoàng Trung Hải.

Though experts have issued warnings about the addictive affects and negative impacts of nitrous oxide on the nervous system, the gas can be purchased nationwide with no limitations, said Bạch Thành Định, deputy director of the Hà Nội police.

Currently there is no legislation restricting the sale or purchase of nitrous oxide in Việt Nam, although it is under tight control and only sold in limited amounts in some other countries, France for example, he said.

Nitrous oxide was imported by the health sector as an alternative to anesthetics. The nitrous oxide-filled balloons, known as funky balls, have become popular amongst youngsters in the capital city for inducing laughter and lightheadedness following inhalation.

One of the initial steps for regulation is to ban the gas and similar substances from being sold near schools and to teenagers and young adults, Định said at a meeting with the People’s Committee of Ba Đình on Tuesday.

Hải, Secretary of the Hà Nội Party Committee assigned the city’s People’s Committee, the city’s police and Department of Health to investigate and propose measures to tackle the issue.

“In the meantime, we can consider temporarily stopping nitrous oxide businesses since we haven’t figured out the effects of inhaling the gas on young peoples’ health,” he said.

Nitrous oxide creates an instant feeling of dizziness and blocks the nervous system, reducing the ability to think, distorting sound and even causing visual hallucinations, said doctor Nguyễn Anh Vũ from the Hà Nội University of Science and Technology’s School of Chemical Engineering.

A person exposed to nitrous oxide in a closed room or inhaling it directly would suffer a lack of oxygen in their bloodstream, he said.VNS


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