Shosha selling cream canisters again, 11 days after removing them from shelves

Buyers must complete a form confirming they are using the canisters for baking.
Buyers must complete a form confirming they are using the canisters for baking. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Shosha has backtracked on its decision to stop selling cream canisters, saying it will sell them - but only if buyers have the relevant paperwork.

The u-turn follows the vape store's May 16 decision to remove the cream canisters from the shelves after Shosha became aware some people were using them recreationally - rather than for baking. 

Shosha's operations manager Nabhik Gupta told Critic in May he had become aware "some customers" were using the canisters to get high.

The canisters contain nitrous oxide -  a colourless gas, also known as nos, nangs and laughing gas, commonly used for sedation and pain relief but can also be used by people to feel intoxicated or high. 

"[We] accept the prudent course is to remove nitrous canisters from retail Shosha stores altogether."

They began selling them again eleven days later, on May 27, with new requirements in place. 

Gupta told Newshub the stores now have "a due diligence process" and will sell the canisters to people who have completed a form confirming they are purchasing them for baking, catering or hospitality purposes.

They must also show an ID that matches that of the form.

All canisters will be supplied with a warning label which warns they are "not supplied for inhalation".

"This meets the Ministry of Health's needs, along with the hospitality industry," he said. 

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health told Newshub Medsafe "strongly advises" the canisters are not used recreationally.

"This would be illegal and leave the user open to prosecution under the Medicines Act 1981, but there are dangers associated with its use."

The dangers include serious damage to the mouth and lungs, and long term use can lead to dangerous complications.

In March, Newshub spoke to Larissa Wright, who knows all too well the dangers abusing nitrous oxide can have. 

Wright lost her business, $20,000 car, family, friends, to her habit but it took losing her ability to walk for her to go "cold turkey" and realise the true harm she was causing herself. 

Her addiction spiralled to the point where she was inhaling 160 canisters a day.

In January, Wright woke up completely paralysed.

She told Newshub she thought she was going to die. 

"I had full-on nerve damage through my whole body. It nearly killed me, it put me in a wheelchair, I can't write, I can use a phone and use my fingertips." 

Its impact has also made her forgetful, suffer memory loss and she lives with psychosis. 

"When you have nitrous oxide your body is deprived of oxygen, your brain - it kills off your brain cells and stops the carbon dioxide, no one takes it seriously, my friends still use it and I just pop their balloons."

Wright is now preparing to fight to get NOS canisters out of shops in New Zealand - it's not illegal here to buy nitrous oxide over the counter, but Wright says it should be.  

"People could say well you were doing 160, but then I went down to 100, I was in treatment for nitrous oxide when I went paralysed, was down to 20 a day, but one NOS canister can do this to you, just one NOS canister. 

The Ministry of Health spokesperson told Newshub Medsafe is "continuing to investigate" issues around the supply of nitrous oxide.