The Return Of Whip-Its – And We’re Not Talking About A New Willow Smith Song

Whip-its are small canisters that are filled with nitrous oxide that people use recreationally to get high. Among health care professionals, there is a growing concern that this dangerous trend is making a comeback with young people. These whip-its are extremely accessible and can be found easily at local smoke shops or gas stations. A recent study done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that over 12 million Americans have used these inhalants at least once in their lives. The high resulting from inhaling compressed gas is generally very fleeting and only lasts a few moments. However, that does not mean that it is not extremely dangerous to an individual’s health.


One of the main reasons young people are flocking towards this type of drug use is due to the fact that they are undetectable in normal drug tests. Recently, many states have passed laws that would curb the sale of these inhalants, however, enforcement and regulation would likely still be ignored by police. In fact, there are many online retailers that sell the drug in bulk quantity with complete disregard for what they are being purchased for. The internet is becoming a uniquely dangerous marketplace for iffy substances that are in a no-mans land with regards to legality.

Young Users

Many young users refer to these types of inhalants as “noz”, and are uploading videos to Facebook and YouTube showing their experiences with the drug. It is portrayed as being benign and harmless. However, the reality of the situation is that kids around the country are ending up in poison control centers or hospitals as a result of asphyxiation from the nitrous oxide. Inhaling or huffing inhalants can quickly cut off the brain’s oxygen supply and do severe damage to the body’s cardiovascular system.


As with any recreational drug, users of inhalants are susceptible to bad decisions they are likely to make while under the influence. When taken in conjunction with alcohol these risks are multiplied. It is important that we start to educate young people on the health risks that inhalants pose. Perhaps if they knew inhalants are what landed Demi Moore in the hospital recently they would be less likely to use them. There are more than 1,400 common products that can be inhaled to achieve a high that many people may not be aware of. Air conditioning coolant, spray paint, air freshener and cooking spray are all common household items that can be potentially lethal if they are abused by someone who is looking for a quick way to get high.

While certainly a form of substance abuse, inhalant abuse is not as widely discussed or known about the way that more popular drugs such as cocaine and meth are. SAMHSA reports that more than 2 million children in America experiment with some form of inhalant each year. If we do not make people aware of the jeopardy they are putting their bodies in, we can expect this number to continue to rise. Some kids are looking for the next cheap and legal high. The return of inhalant abuse should be seen as a serious public health concern, and anyone struggling with an addiction to inhalants needs to find help at a drug rehab facility as soon as possible.

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