22 March 2024

Switzerland and laughing gas poisoning – a legal classification

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  • Health / Life Sciences

Narcosis, whippped cream, engine tuning or party drug: laughing gas has many uses in Switzerland. But what is the legal classification of laughing gas (N2O)?


In recent years, laughing gas has attracted increasing attention in Switzerland. However, the focus is not on its medical use or its use in the food industry, but rather on its use as a party drug. Laughing gas is inhaled from balloons and gives the user a short-lasting feeling of euphoria.

The legal classification depends on its intended use. Medical laughing gas is subject to the Therapeutic Products Act and requires a license. Technical laughing gas, which is used as a party drug, is regulated by the Chemicals and Foodstuffs Act.

According to the Foodstuffs and Chemicals Act, these substances, including laughing gas, may only be used for specific purposes. However, the manufacturers of laughing gas do not provide for the direct consumption of laughing gas by inhalation. Laughing gas itself is not a finished product. Such distribution, for example by bars or clubs for direct inhalation, is inappropriate and therefore against the law. Such resale and distribution can be punished. However, consumption itself is not punishable by law.

There have been isolated legislative attempts to ban laughing gas as a party drug.

Read the full article in German here