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Office of Fair Trading advises on preventing sales of "glue sniffing" products 7 February 2006

    Whilst most of us are aware that the misuse of alcohol, legal and illegal drugs and tobacco by children is a terrible danger to their health and well-being, many of us are less knowledgeable about the dangers of everyday household products.

    Volatile Substance Abuse (VSA) is often referred to as "glue sniffing" but glue is only one of a whole range of everyday household products that can be misused for the purpose of causing intoxication.

    It is an offence to sell a product to a person under the age of 18 if you know or suspect that the product is likely to be misused for the purpose of causing intoxication.

    Products may be supplied to persons under the age of 18 for legitimate, i.e. intended, uses.

    The constant development of new products, and the re-branding or re-packaging of others, can make it difficult for businesses to both identify and control sales of products that can be used for "sniffing". Enforcement Officers from the Office of Fair Trading are currently visiting businesses such as hairdressers, hardware shops, model shops, shoe shops and dry cleaners to provide managers and staff with appropriate advice.

    Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading, Quintin Gill MHK, said:

    "Volatile Substance Abuse is a real danger but it is so easy to think of it only as "glue sniffing". We know that businesses can be unsure about which products are covered by the age restriction. Our Enforcement Officers are visiting upwards of 150 businesses to provide them with advice and support to prevent sales of dangerous products to youngsters.

    We all need to be aware of the effects of VSA on the lives of young people. Many products carry the warning "Solvent Abuse Can Kill Instantly", which alerts you to the danger of the product, however, if you are in doubt contact our Enforcement Officers on 686520. For further information on how to to recognise Volatile Substance Abuse visit websites or".

    7th February 2006

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