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Ages & Stages

Gasoline Sniffing

According to national surveys, inhaling dangerous products is becoming one of the most widespread problems in the country.

Household products such as gasoline are readily available, which has resulted in a significant rise in the number teens and young adults abusing this substance.

Long-Term Health Risks:

Mental deterioration and chronic injury to the nervous system are the principal health dangers of chronic abuse of solvents, including gasoline. This leads to other health issues, such as:

  • Problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tremor
  • Balance problems
  • Mood changes
  • Dementia
  • Nephritis and tubular necrosis
  • Certain cancers

Gasoline sniffing is a marker that a child or teenager is at very high risk of trying or already using other drugs.

A Message for Parents:

Like any other inhalant abuse, gasoline sniffing is addictive.

  • If you suspect your child is abusing any form of inhalants, a professional evaluation is recommended. If the abuse has been long-term or frequent, your child will likely require professional abuse counseling and intervention.
  • If you suspect your child might be curious, but hasn't abused an inhalant, a talk with them about the dangers is recommended. Key elements toward preventing future abuse are awareness and education.

Additional Resources:

Last Updated
Adapted from Pediatric Environmental Health, 3rd Edition (Copyright © American Academy of Pediatrics 2011)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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