The UK has begun enforcing a ban on nitrous oxide, also known as "laughing gas," the Home Office said Wednesday.
The ban, which was announced by the government in September, makes laughing gas an illegal Class C substance as part of a plan to tackle anti-social behavior.
Possession of laughing gas is now illegal, with repeat serious users facing up to two years in prison, while those caught producing or selling it could face up to 14 years in prison.
"Today we are sending a clear signal to people, especially young people, that not only is abuse of nitrous oxide dangerous to their health, but it is also illegal, and those caught possessing it will face consequences," Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp said in the statement.
"For too long, the use of this drug in public spaces has contributed to anti-social behavior which is a blight on communities. We will not accept it," he added.
It is known as the second most commonly used drug among 16- to 24-year-olds in England after cannabis.
Nitrous oxide, an odorless, colorless and sweet-tasting gas, can cause a range of issues including transient dizziness, dissociation, disorientation, loss of balance, impaired memory and cognition, and weakness in the legs.