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What about nitrous oxide in advertising?

Nitrous oxide is a hot topic at the moment. The street is dotted with cartridges and balloons. Many municipalities have already banned party drugs at certain events and locations. In Amsterdam there is now a real “laughing-gas king” who, with his company, Ufogas, advertises on billboards for laughing-gas balloons. The increasing use of nitrous oxide is controversial. A complaint to the Advertising Code Committee (RCC) was of course inevitable.

The complaint is directed against a Ufogas billboard: a cartoon-like drawing of two men with a balloon on their mouths and the message that at Ufogas nitrous oxide can be ordered everywhere. The complainant finds it “unbelievable and impossible” to advertise nitrous oxide. It is a hazardous substance that can be ordered in any desired quantity. The complainant is concerned about the increasing use, especially now that it is becoming increasingly clear that the substance is harmful to your health.

The RCC understands that the complainant is worried and that she finds the advertisement undesirable. However, it is not currently prohibited by law to offer nitrous oxide for recreational use. The objections are really focused on the product. These objections cannot deprive Ufogas of the right to advertise a legally permitted product. The advertisement does not encourage the use of large quantities of nitrous oxide either. The complaint is therefore rejected.

For the time being, the RCC therefore allows advertising for recreational nitrous oxide. The question is whether this is tenable. Will it not be different now that the drug is being banned in more and more municipalities at locations and events? Ufogas would do well to remove the billboards at least in those places. To be continued…

Mathijs Peijnenburg

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