ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — There’s a message of clarity in New York for a nearly year-old law regarding nitrous oxide chargers and the products it affects, namely whipped cream canisters. Earlier this month signs started popping up in area grocery and convenience stores alerting customers they may be required to show they are 21 or older to purchase whipped cream. The message is now crystal clear:

“You do NOT need to ID a customer in order to sell them a can of whipped cream.

That was the message sent out by the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS) on Wednesday. The group sent out the notice to its members citing that it was initially unclear if the ban extended to whipped cream canisters. The memo notes that several stores started requiring ID for sales due to a lack of clarity.

In early August, area grocery stores made efforts to accommodate the new law. At several local stores, signs were printed and posted on refrigerators alerting customers about the law requiring ID to purchase whipped cream canisters.

Price Chopper was working to create prompts in the self-scan register systems to require an ID check. Those scans were set to begin September 1, but have all been reversed, since the stores do not sell the nitrous oxide chargers individually.

The NYACS memo comes a few days after a clarifying message was sent out by New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr., who authored the bill directed toward nitrous oxide (N2O) chargers. Addabbo authored the law to ban the sale of individual cartridges or chargers to anyone under the age of 21. The two-inch steel chargers filled with N20 are also called “whippets.”

They can be inhaled to produce a euphoric, though dangerous, effect on the user to get high. Addabbo’s bill cited the health concerns on top of the fact the spent cartridges were strewn about his district as drivers behind the legislation. That bill that targeted those items was signed into law in November of 2021.

“The sale of whipped cream is not banned to a minor because of this law,” Addabbo explained. “The target of the law was never intended to be whipped cream you can purchase at your local market. The language of the bill specifically mentions the sale of chargers or cartridges that contain nitrous oxide which is solely affected by this law. These cartridges cannot be extracted from a traditional canister of whipped cream with the full amount of nitrous oxide. After speaking with the attorney general’s office I was able to ensure that fines wouldn’t be doled out to any store owners for selling whipped cream to anyone.” 

The governor’s office also confirmed that you can absolutely buy whipped cream in the canister without being 21. It is only the individual cartridges of nitrous oxide that require you to be 21 years of age or older.