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Vietnam's Health Ministry warns against use of 'funky balls'

The Ministry of Health has issued a warning to not sell or use nitrous oxide N20, a colourless and sweet tasting gas, for recreational purposes.

Funky balls could be added to list of drugs
Funky balloons are no laughing matter in Vietnam

'Funky balls' are widely used by youngsters in Hanoi. — Photo


The decision was made following a proposal by the People’s Committee of Ha Noi to ban selling the gas for recreational purposes due to adverse effects that could lead to death.

The gas is being used widely among youth in the form of funky balloons or nitrous oxide-filled balloons, despite warnings from experts who say the balls can be addictive and negatively affect the nervous system of users.

Nitrous oxide is also known as laughing gas, and after inhaling it, people burst into laughter.

Dr Nguyen Anh Vu, from the Ha Noi University of Science and Technology’s School of Chemical Engineering, said that nitrous oxide creates an instantly refreshing feeling but also leads to dizziness. It blocks the nervous system, reducing the ability to think, distorting sounds, and even causing visual hallucinations.

A person exposed to nitrous oxide in a closed room or inhaling it directly will suffer from a lack of oxygen in their bloodstream, he told Tiền phong (Vanguard) newspaper.

According to scientists, young women have been advised to avoid exposure to nitrous oxide because it might lead to fertility problems.

In a document sent to the Ha Noi’s People’s Committee on Wednesday, the health ministry said according to a regulation set by the Ministry of Industry and Trade which manages the use of nitrous oxide, the gas is only permitted to be sold and used for industrial production, not for human use.

The health ministry instructed the Ha Noi’s People’s Committee to continue to disseminate information to raise public awareness about the adverse effects of the use of the nitrous oxide.

Selling nitrous oxide for recreational purposes was banned in Britain in 2015.



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