A recently passed law in the state of New York has declared it illegal for those under the age of 21 to purchase cans of whipped cream. While the law went into effect last November in 2021, its widespread effect is just now becoming commonplace as people looking to purchase canned whipped cream are regularly asked to show ID.
According to Insider, the law intends to prevent teenagers from obtaining and using whipped cream canisters to inhale nitrous oxide, popularly known as “whippets.” In the legislation, “whipped cream chargers” are specifically named and described as “small steel cartridges of nitrous oxide used in whipped cream dispensers.”
The US Drug Enforcement Administration says that approximately 1 in 5 young people have used inhalants like whippets by the time they reach the 8th grade.
“Inhalants are invisible, volatile substances found in common household products that produce chemical vapors that are inhaled to induce psychoactive or mind-altering effects. [Abusing inhalants can] cause damage to parts of the brain that control thinking, moving, vision, and hearing,” according to the DEA fact sheet.
After receiving complaints of empty canisters littering New York’s streets, State Sentator Joseph Addabbo of Queens decided to sponsor the new law.
In an October 2021 statement, Addabbo said, “The need to limit the access and sale of whippets first became apparent after receiving constituent complaints about empty cansiters on neighborhood streets. Used whippets piling up in our communities are not only an eye sore, but also indicative of a significant nitrous oxide abuse problem.”