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Phi Phi laughing gas goes viral, prompts warning nitrous oxide can be lethal

PHUKET: Photos of three young foreign women on Phi Phi Island reportedly under the effects of inhaling nitrous oxide, better known “laughing gas”, have gone viral on social media, prompting officials to issue a health warning.

By Eakkapop Thongtub

Wednesday 10 June 2015, 12:55PM

The photos show the women lying on pavement near bars and apparently inhaling the gas from balloons.

Locals have reported to The Phuket News that balloons filled with nitrous oxide are commonly available on Phi Phi, which serves as a common party destination for young tourists in Phuket.

“These balloons are everywhere, and the average cost is about B200 each,” one operator said.

However, officials have yet to find any persons on the island selling the “laughing balloons”.

“We have yet to identify where the women were pictured in order to know where to start our search,” said Dr Manas Soponpong of the Krabi Health Office.

Dr Manas explained that nitrous oxide is a controlled substance in Thailand, but was readily found in products easily obtained by the public.

“Clinics and dentists in the past used this gas as a general anaesthetic, but that is no longer common practice,” he said.

“But today this gas is used by food-processing plants, and is even used to fill cans of whipped cream.”

Although nitrous oxide can be easily found, Dr Manas strong warned against inhaling the gas.

“Inhaling it can induce a euphoric effect of feeling happy, but if too much gets into your system, it can have severe effects and may even cause death,” he said.



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