HC Deb 17 November 1981 vol 13 c74W
Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will now introduce legislation to make it illegal to sell solvents to anyone under the age of 21 years;

(2) if he will hold discussions with manufacturers of solvents to ask them to add to the manufacturing process any substance which would make it obnoxious to smell or to alter the formula used to make it odourless.

Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

[pursuant to her reply, 13 November 1981, c. 189.]: If, as I assume, the hon. Member wants to prevent the practice of glue sniffing, I do not consider it would be practicable or justifiable to try to achieve this by banning sales of solvents or products containing solvents to those under 21. It would be unreasonable to deprive those under 21 of the right to buy the very wide range of products concerned when they want to use them for their proper purpose, and it would be difficult for shopkeepers to distinguish those over from those under 21. I suspect that many youthful sniffers would still be able to get hold of goods containing solvents if they wanted to, as some would find them at home or get those over 21 to buy them for them. From inquiries it appears impossible to deter sniffers by making solvents obnoxious to smell without at the same time making them unsuitable for their purpose.