Thailand curbs sale of laughing gas balloons to tourists


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The Independent Online

Officials are cracking down on vendors in Bangkok’s main backpacker district who sell cheap balloons filled with doses of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to tourists.

Eight vendors have been arrested since police first noticed the trend a few weeks ago along Khao San Road, a pedestrian street lined with bars and cheap hotels.

Each dose sells for about 130 baht, or £2.60.

Police said the sale of drug-filled balloons started at popular beaches, such as Koh Samui, Pattaya and Koh Pagnan — an island known for "full moon" parties fueled by drugs and alcohol.

Police are trying to curb sales of the drug-filled balloons in the capital before it gains wider popularity.

Illicit sales of nitrous oxide could cause harmful side effects to users and give the country a negative image, he said.

Those arrested face up to five years in prison and a £190 fine for selling medicine without authorization.