A NEW digital campaign warning of the dangers of inhaling Nitrous Oxide gas from catering canisters - also known as 'Hippy Crack' - has been launched.

It spells out that the substance, although legal, can cause dizziness, nausea, hallucinations, depression, anaemia and nerve damage.

The Lancashire County Council campaign 'Where's the Harm? – Nitrous Oxide' seeks to inform young people and their parents of the risks and will be shared on social media and other digital platforms.

It warns that mixing it with other substances increases the dangers, as do underlying health conditions, while inhaling directly from the canister can cause suffocation, frostbite and even death.

The campaign points out that supplying of nitrous oxide - also know as 'laughing gas' - for recreational drug use is illegal with sentences of up to seven years in prison or unlimited fines

Cllr Michael Green, the county council's health boss, added "Whilst it might look like fun and everyone looks to be having a good time, young people who take these substances are taking exceptional risks with their health. Heavy regular use can have a long-term impact including possible anaemia and nerve damage. It is important that young people and their parents are aware of these dangers."