A Comprehensive Guide To The Legality Of Poppers & their Side Effects

A Comprehensive Guide To The Legality Of Poppers & their Side Effects
20 Jul 2023

Table of Contents

Alkyl nitrates encompass a collection of chemical compounds sought after for their mind-altering effects, which are often misused. In street lingo, these compounds are commonly called "poppers." They are frequently packaged in small bottles or glass vials, facilitating their portability and allowing users to experience a temporary euphoric sensation quickly. In this blog, we will discuss are poppers legal uk and the side effects and understand whether poppers are safe to use.


The Legality Of Poppers In The UK

While the legal status of poppers in the UK remains ambiguous, it is important to note that advertising poppers for human consumption is prohibited under the Medicines Act of 1968. However, the question of whether poppers are poppers legal UK is complex. The act of using poppers itself is not entirely illegal. Consequently, there has been a notable increase in popper addiction, particularly within the gay community where poppers are frequently employed for sexual enhancement. Additionally, the accessibility of poppers has surged among teenagers due to their widespread availability. This ease of access is because poppers are not regulated under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Currently, in the UK, the possession and usage of poppers are not unlawful, thus addressing the inquiry "Are poppers legal UK?"

Use Of Poppers

Poppers are typically consumed by inhaling them through the nose using small inhalation bottles. Upon inhalation, they induce a euphoric sensation. The drug works by dilating the blood vessels, resulting in a decrease in blood pressure. Furthermore, after a few minutes, it relaxes involuntary muscles such as those in the abdomen, diaphragm, and heart.


Poppers are also recognised for their ability to induce relaxation in smooth muscles, including those found in the anus and throat. This is why they are frequently used to enhance sexual intercourse.


Are Poppers Safe To Use?

When used responsibly and in moderation, poppers are generally considered safe for most individuals. Nevertheless, there are crucial factors to bear in mind. Firstly, it is crucial to ensure that the poppers being used are legitimate and of high quality. Counterfeit or poorly manufactured poppers may contain harmful substances or impurities that can pose health risks. Secondly, poppers should not be ingested, as they are meant to be inhaled through the nose. Ingestion can lead to severe complications and should be strictly avoided.

It is also important to note that poppers can cause a drop in blood pressure, which may be problematic for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as low blood pressure or heart problems. Consulting with a healthcare professional is advised, especially if one has pre-existing health conditions.


Poppers shouldn’t be used if you have:


  • The previous occurrence of a stroke
  • Persistent low blood pressure
  • Existing heart, liver, or kidney issues
  • Presence of a severe medical condition or illness


Side Effects Of Poppers

The primary effect of alkyl nitrite poppers is on the sphincter muscles located in the anus or vagina, as well as the smooth muscles throughout the body. By dilating the blood vessels, poppers induce a relaxing effect and an elevation in heart rate. Additionally, they increase blood flow, leading to elevated body temperature and a heightened sensation of being high.

Long-term abuse of poppers carries various risks, including brain injury, kidney failure, liver damage, significant impact on the immune system, bone marrow fractures, blood imbalances, damage to the retinas, and potential hearing loss.

Here are some of the effects that poppers can have on the body:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Heightened warm sensation
  • Relaxation of sphincter and smooth muscles

Side effects of poppers abuse are as follows:

  • Reduced oxygen supply to vital organs
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Increased intraocular pressure
  • Severe drop in blood pressure


Mixing Poppers With Other Substances Or Alcohol

Combining alkyl nitrites with other substances can lead to a range of complications and significant harm. Moreover, they have a rapid reaction when mixed with substances that share similar vasodilation effects, such as Viagra, Cialis, Levitra, and others.

Complications resulting from the use of poppers include extremely low blood pressure, stroke, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. Additionally, poppers can impede the supply of oxygen to the bloodstream and vital organs.


Overdose From Popper Consumption

While the risk of overdose from inhaling popper vapors is relatively lower compared to other recreational drugs, ingesting poppers can result in significant harm.


The act of swallowing poppers can lead to the following consequences:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Cyanosis (low oxygen saturation in skin tissues)
  • Elevated levels of methemoglobin in the blood
  • Lipoid pneumonia


This comprehensive guide sheds light on the legal status of poppers in the UK. While advertising poppers for human consumption is prohibited, the possession and use of poppers themselves are currently legal. However, it is crucial to be aware of the potential side effects that poppers can have on health. By staying informed about regulations and prioritising personal well-being, individuals can make responsible choices regarding popper use in the UK.