Smoke shops sued after man gets ill from laughing gas

January 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A Stockton man who admits he abused nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is suing the three different smoke shops where he purchased it. Reporter Tim Daly from the Sacramento ABC affiliate, News10, spoke to the man who claims those stores should have warned him it was a bad idea.

Jason Starn says back in 2010 using nitrous oxide for fun nearly killed him. In an interview he gave to his attorney, Starn said, "They may be legal, they may appear to just be some fun recreational thing to do, but let me tell you what, these are death in a can."

In an interview with News10, Starn could be seen using a walker and said he has spinal cord injuries as a result of inhaling too much nitrous oxide and it is now too painful for him to stand. He said, "Pain spreads up throughout the back, makes the legs pretty weak, and gives you just a lot of pain. I was up all night in pain actually."

Nitrous oxide is used by dentists and tiny canisters of it can be found in whipped cream canisters. However, they're also commonly sold in smoke shops. Now, Starn is suing three smoke shops saying he should have been warned about the potential dangers.

When asked why he was suing if he used the gas recreationally, Starn replied, "Well, yeah. Had I known the side effects that came from it, I wouldn't have been using them, no."

The owner of the Modesto smoke shop, called "No Limit," says his attorney told him he can't do any interviews. Off camera, he told Daly it's pretty clear those materials are supposed to be used for making whipped cream.

Staff at the Sacramento County smoke shop "Still Smokin" and the Folsom smoke shop "Smoke Island" would not comment on the lawsuit.

Starn said his lawsuit should really serve as a warning to others. He said, "Don't injure yourself the way that I have because you never get back to the way you were."

(KXTV contributed to this report.)


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