You Now Have to Prove You're 21 to Buy Whipped Cream Canisters in New York

Do you periodically enjoy an adult beverage? I’m talking, of course, about a milkshake — the kind with whipped cream on top.

New York stores are now checking identification per a state law aimed to reduce drug deaths. The measure bans the sale of whipped cream canisters to anyone under 21.


From the Albany Times Union:

The chargers that propel whipped cream through a canister nozzle are filled with nitrous oxide gas, which can be inhaled to produce a high. The inhalant has long been a popular recreational drug — called “whippets” — among teenagers due to the availability of whipped cream canisters at grocery and convenience stores.

The law was sponsored by Democratic State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, whose district saw significant abuse of nitrous — also known as “laughing gas.”

“Sadly,” he said in a press release, “young people buy and inhale this gas to get ‘high’ because they mistakenly believe it is a ‘safe’ substance.”

Though the law passed last year, enforcement has just begun. New York Association of Convenience Stores President Kent Sopris believes businesses didn’t know about it:

“I think that there is some sort of reporting mechanism that just didn’t go the way it was supposed to. We had been tracking the bill last year, and when I looked in the bill tracking file, there is just no indication that it was signed.”

For those unfamiliar with the impact of nitrous, the Alcohol and Drug Foundation lists short-term effects:

  • euphoria
  • numbness of the body
  • sedation
  • giddiness
  • uncontrolled laughter
  • uncoordinated movements
  • blurred vision
  • confusion
  • dizziness and/or light-headedness
  • sweating
  • feeling unusually tired or weak

More critically:

  • loss of blood pressure
  • fainting
  • heart attack.
  • sudden death

Surely some will pan the law — its premise, one might say, is “People are morons and must be stopped.” Such could also be said about a number of U.S. laws.

For those in favor of S.2819-A’s effectiveness, consider a report by NBC News:

[Sen. Addabbo], sponsor of the bill…said Monday that stores shouldn’t be carding for canned whipped cream.

He said the law targets cartridges sold separately from typical whipped cream cans. …

“It’s actually the cartridge or charger” that’s being banned from sale to young people, Addabbo said Monday. “It’s a small 2-inch charger or cartridge. Those are the words in the bill.”


In theory, a youngster could buy a can of Reddi-wip, break it open and remove the cartridge of nitrous oxide, he said, but that’s not his target.

Yet, the Times Union notes that “most people likely will notice enforcement of the law when they buy whipped cream packaged in a canister.”

Back to Kent Sopris, he’s not a fan:

“We hear constantly how important small businesses are to New York politicians, but quite frankly, laws like this prove otherwise.”

As noted by Fox News, any stores found in violation of the law will be charged $250. Subsequent infractions may reach $500.


We’re living in strange times, and politicians appear of the opinion there can never be too many laws. On the bright side, people bent on killing themselves with deadly gas will have to wait ’til their 21 to legally buy the mechanism — unless, of course, they just legally purchase some Reddi-wip and do the exact same thing.

Either way, part of astute governance is setting age limits commensurate with the endeavor:



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