19 Dec 2012

Ban on butane sales may not stop fatal huffing - coroner

7:36 pm on 19 December 2012

The Rotorua coroner, Wallace Bain, says an age restriction on substances such as butane may be totally impractical as a way of reducing the numbers of young people who die from huffing.

The coroner has released his findings into the death of a 16-year-old Rorotua boy who died last year after inhaling either butane or deodorant.

Mr Bain says the 16-year-old went to bed after watching cricket where he huffed one of the two substances, and was found dead by his father the next morning.

The Coroner has ruled he died from hydrocarbon inhalation.

Mr Bain says since 2000, 63 people have died from huffing, 75% of them male and about half of them Maori.

The coroner says an age ban on sales may be impractical because they are so widely available.

Mr Bain says in many instances families are simply not aware young people are huffing.

His findings are to be forwarded to the Ministers of Youth Affairs, Social Development and Health.