Why are Israeli teens inhaling aerosol whipped cream cans?

The Health Ministry said inhaling the gas also causes dizziness, which might make users act carelessly or dangerously.

Whipped cream cans (photo credit: WALLPAPER FLARE)
Whipped cream cans
(photo credit: WALLPAPER FLARE)

Why are spray cans of whipped cream so popular among children and teens in Israel and around the world? It’s not to make strawberry shortcakes. They are used to inhale nitrous oxide – “laughing gas” used by dentists for extractions – that makes them get “high.” In the metal aerosol containers, it acts as a propellant to get whipped cream out and a preservative to keep it from going rancid. 

The Health Ministry reported on Thursday that in the last year, it has confiscated hundreds of thousands of metal aerosol whipped cream containers with the dangerous gas, which poses the risk of losing consciousness and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen and causing irreversible brain damage. Some individuals have even died from it. 

The ministry said inhaling the gas also causes dizziness, which might make users act carelessly or dangerously, and heavy regular use of nitrous oxide can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anemia.

The ministry added that it is working in close cooperation with the enforcement agencies to deal with the phenomenon. Recently, in a joint activity of the ministry’s division for enforcement and supervision in cooperation with the Israel Police, large quantities of gas canisters that were suspected of being aimed at sales to teenagers were seized in kiosks and supermarkets in Ashdod. In addition, in the last year, closure orders were issued to two places where containers of gas were sold.

Product is sold illegally at parties and kiosks still

US dollar notes [Illustrative] (credit: REUTERS)
US dollar notes [Illustrative] (credit: REUTERS)

According to the ministry, the product is sold illegally at parties and kiosks throughout the country. In Israel, two young men were recently hospitalized due to this abuse. 

Dr. Roni Berkowitz, director of the enforcement and supervision division, warned that the use of the gas “endangers those who are most precious to us – our children. It is a seemingly innocent product that ‘only’ leads to a feeling of euphoria, but it could lead to severe side effects, some of which are life-threatening. I call on the children and the youth – take care of your health and do not use this product. And parents must become aware of its dangers and speak to their children about the matter.” 

There is a shortage of the product in many countries because they are being snatched up by youngsters. People who want the whipped cream and not the gas can take sweet cream and whip it up themselves.