Small canisters filled with nitrous oxide known as “Whip-Its” are making a comeback among teens and young adults across the country, and have may health professionals worried. Most recent statistics show that Whip-Its are now the most popular recreational inhalant, with over 12 million people in the U.S. who have tried it at least once.
“What makes them really popular is they’re easily accessible,” said William Oswald, founder of the Summit Malibu drug treatment center. “You can get them at a head shop, you can get it out of a whipped cream bottle.”
A recent ABC News investigation found that numerous online retailers allowed large purchases of Whip-Its, without any age restrictions or asking what they were being used for. Dr. Westley Clark, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at SAMHSA, said inhaling nitrous oxide, or huffing as it’s sometimes called, can cut off oxygen to the brain and result in severe effects on the body’s cardiovascular system.