NY Now Says Customers Under 21 Can Buy Whipped Cream
By Yehudit Garmaise
After many New Yorkers expressed disbelief that the new law, passed in November 2021, had outlawed the sale of whipped cream canisters to customers under the age of 21, state Sen. Joseph Abbaddo, of Queens, who wrote the bill for the law, now says the law he previously pushed is all just a big misunderstanding.
The law bans people under age 21 from buying “whipped cream chargers” — devices that can be used to fill balloons with nitrous oxide, aka laughing gas, which is then inhaled for a high.
At the time that the bill was passed, state Sen. Joseph P. Abbaddo of Queens, who wrote and sponsored the bill, said that minors were reportedly buying whipped cream cans by the dozen to inhale the nitrous oxide inside as a recreational drug that is called, ‘whippits.’
“The need to limit the access and sale of ‘whippits’ first became apparent after receiving constituent complaints about empty canisters on the streets,” said state Sen. Abbaddo. "Sadly, young people buy and inhale this gas to get ‘high’ because they mistakenly believe it is a ‘safe’ substance.”
But after lawmakers flooded state Sen. Abbaddo’s office with inquiries about the new law and many claims that the law only prohibits ‘the sale of the chargers that are used to dispense the sweet topping,’ the New York Times reported, state Sen. Abbaddo changed his tune.
“I thought the language was clear,” backpedaled Sen. Abbaddo. “We did not ban the sale of whipped cream,” state Sen. Abbaddo now said. “Why would we do that?
Confusion, however, still reigns as to whether whipped cream canisters contain the nitrous oxide chargers that are typically used as whipping agents: to turn cream into foam.
Some say the nitrous oxide is accessible in the whipped cream cans, while others say that whipped cream cans do not contain the metal chargers that deliver what is used in dentists’ offices as “laughing gas.”
Trade groups that represent convenience and grocery stores, hoping to protect their members from pricey fines, had advised food retailers to post signs alerting customers that they would have to show identification to buy whipped cream.
“There hasn’t been any guidance from the state on the true intent of the law,” said Mike Durant, the president of the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, who explained that retailers were wondering exactly how they should enforce the law and prevent getting fined for selling whipped cream to customers under 21.