What are Inhalants?

Inhalants are ordinary household products like glue and paint thinner that are inhaled or sniffed to get high. Users sniff snort or huff fumes directly from containers, or inhale the substance from a paper or plastic bag. Nitrous oxide is inhaled from balloons.

Inhalants fall into the following categories:


  • Paint thinners
  • Solvents
  • Degreasers (dry-cleaning fluids)
  • Gasoline
  • Rubber cement and other types of glues
  • Correction fluid
  • Felt-tip-marker fluid



  • Butane lighters
  • Propane tanks
  • Whipping cream
  • Aerosols
  • Refrigerant gases
  • Spray paints, hair or deodorant sprays


  • Cyclohexyl nitrite, available to the general public
  • Amyl nitrite, available only by prescription
  • Butyl nitrite, now an illegal substance

Street names:

Whippets, Poppers, Snappers

Street names for using:

Huffing, Bagging, Dusting

Did you know?

  • Early inhalant use is associated with delinquent behaviors, substance abuse, and other problems later in life.

Dangerous because:

  • Inhalants can cause brain, nerve, liver or kidney damage.
  • Use can lead to heart failure and death from asphyxiation and suffocation.
  • Use cause seizures, coma, or fatal injury from accident.
  • Use can damage lungs, liver, and kidneys.

Signs of use:

  • Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers, and chemical-soaked rags or clothing
  • Chemical odors on breath or clothing
  • Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothes
  • Red or runny eyes and nose, unusual odor on breath
  • Drunk or disoriented appearance
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Lack of attention, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression
  • Spots and/or sores around the mouth

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