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Lauging gas no laughing matter

A report by Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald said that two Thai teenagers have discovered laughter isn’t always the best medicine after they were arrested for selling balloons containing “funny air” – or laughing gas – to tourists.

The pair, aged 17 and 19, were charged Wednesday with trafficking in controlled substances, punishable by a maximum five-year jail term, after allegedly selling balloons containing nitrous oxide in the tourist resort of Pattaya.

The gas, known locally as funny air but more commonly referred to as laughing gas, induces euphoria and laughter when inhaled.

It has several legitimate uses, including numbing pain during medical procedures such as dentistry.

Nitrous oxide is legally available in many countries, including the United Kingdom, but is controlled in Thailand.

“They were charged under medical laws… that ban selling or importing nitrous oxide,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Passkorn Paikit said, adding the balloons are commonly sold in the tourist hot spots of Ko Samui and Ko Pha Ngan.

“(The balloons) sell for 120 baht ($4.10) each and its effect can last for five to ten minutes,” he said.

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