The government’s ban on the possession of nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is to come into effect on 8 November.

According to the Home Office, offenders could face up to two years in prison if found with the substance and up to 14 years for supply or production.

The ban has been introduced as part of a plan to tackle anti-social behaviour, with secondary legislation brought forward in September which will control nitrous oxide as a Class C substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. There will be exemptions for legitimate uses of nitrous oxide, such as in medical or catering industries.

The government reported nitrous oxide as the third most used drug among 16 to 24-year-olds in England, with links to anti-social behaviour.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Earlier this year the Prime Minister and I promised a zero-tolerance approach to antisocial behaviour and that is what we are delivering. If you are caught using ‘laughing gas’ as a drug, you could be hit with a hefty fine or face jail time.

Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp added: “There is no question that abusing laughing gas is dangerous to people’s health and it is paramount we take decisive action before the situation gets worse.

“Not only are we making possession an offence for the first time, we are also doubling the maximum sentence for supply to 14 years, so the dealers profiting off this trade have no place to hide.”