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    Laughing gas banned in Brussels municipality

    The use of laughing gas as a recreational drug has seen a surge in popularity in Belgium. Credit: Wikmedia Commons

    A Brussels municipality has banned the sale of laughing gas canisters in stores and as well as its use in public spaces, local authorities said Tuesday.

    The move by Mayor Emir Kir of Saint-Josse will take immediate effect, with anyone seen overstepping the ban in the municipality risking an administrative fine.

    The measure will see laughing gas canisters sales in stores banned for a period of six months, and will also ban selling laughing gas in any forms to minors for an indefinite period, Bruzz reports.

    Additionally, the ban will also allow police to seize canisters from anyone found using them in public spaces.

    Complaints about the nuisances caused by the climbing popularity of nitrogen oxide, or laughing gas, have been on the rise.

    Doctors in Flanders have also spoken out about the dangers of the gas, reporting a growing number of admissions of young people suffering from “chronic problems” from their regular use of laughing gas.

    Saint-Josse’s move comes as more and more people use the gas —which is commercially used to inflate balloons or in pastry making— as a recreational drug.

    In September, the city of Kortrijk issued a similar ban with authorities in the Brussels municipality of Evere announcing a stricter oversight of the sales while hoping for stricter rules to be applied on the regional level.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times