Student group helps close down nitrous oxide retailer

Photo: Facebook
Photo: Facebook
A student group has helped shut down an online retailer offering nitrous oxide around the clock in Dunedin.

Local business Dunedin Party Supplies was offering to deliver nitrous oxide (nangs), cream chargers and vapes to students 24/7 throughout Flo and O Week.

Nitrous oxide, also known as nangs or nos, is a odourless and colourless gas that when inhaled provides a short-lived high.

People can also feel dizziness, have difficulty thinking straight and fall into fits of laughter.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy Ōtepoti-Dunedin (SSDP) president Max Phillips said during Flo and O Week this year, North Dunedin student flats were targeted by flyers advertising Dunedin Party Supplies’ services.

One of the products offered was a "Miami Magic" canister that equates to about 71 "hits".

Mr Phillips said SSDP did not condemn or condone drug use, but selling such large quantities of nitrous oxide in an "easy to use" canister meant harm from overconsumption was likely.

"The long story short is if you use nangs every day, or if you consume an incredibly high amount of nangs in one session ... you’re likely end up harming yourself."

After discovering the store’s marketing tactic, a few emails sent by SSDP got the entire operation almost completely shut down.

"In order to reduce the harm caused by these products, SSDP chose to contact the payment providers used by the retailer, requesting that they withdraw their services."

SSDP sent letters to Mastercard, Visa and Merco Ltd operating as POLi Pay.

They also copied in health experts and health promotion advisers.

A health adviser soon found Dunedin Party Supplies was not a specialist vape retailer and was not legally allowed to sell vapes.

The letter by SSDP was then forwarded to the Vaping Regulatory Authority.

POLi responded to SSDP that it had ended its relationship with the retailer.

Mastercard and Visa soon followed suit, and their service disappeared from Dunedin Party Supplies’ website.

All vaping products were removed from its website, but the retailer was still trading by accepting cash and bank transfer into its bank account.

The company then told Newshub it was "suspending the business and ... [had] taken the website down".

Mr Phillips said SSDP intended to continue monitoring company’s website to ensure it was not reactivated in the future.

SSDP would undertake similar action against any other "predatory and exploitative retailers targeting Dunedin-based students with similar products", he said.