Dixon Patch editor Justin Cox contributed to this story.
Have you ever had real dairy, fresh whipped cream, made at places like Starbucks? Have you seen them make it?
They pour manufacturing cream (heavy whipping cream), vanilla flavored syrup, screw on the lid, then screw on a small nitrous oxide cartridge that injects the gas, which fluffs the cream creating instant whip whipped cream. Delicious.
But why am I writing you an article on how to make whipped cream, you ask? Because in the wrong hands, that cartridge can be deadly inhalant drug.
What are Whip-its?
Dixon Patch received an email from a concerned Dixon High School parent who recently found a box of these unusual nitrous oxide cartridge products in his senior's bedroom. His student told him he had purchased them at the Dixon Smoke Shop on Ary Lane, where he had also been given balloons in order to use them for an inhalation high.
Although the parent makes clear that his son is 18 years old, which is of legal age to buy them, some still may wonder why a smoke shop is selling whipped cream cartridges.
So I (Lindsey) drove over to the Dixon Smoke Shop at 1440 Ary Lane, which is ironically the tenant of same building in which I spent years making whipped cream as a Java California barista.
Brands including Whip-It!, Whip Cream Chargers, and Gourmet 24 were stacked in a display case right next to products that read "Pass Your Drug Tests Guaranteed", "Herbal Clean Formula", "Drug Test Kit", "Quick Fix Plus", an entire wall of "water pipes," blown glass pipes, a display of straight-edge razors and many other products one might be surprised to find a smoke shop with cigars on their business cards.
Being that I was there to find out specifically about Whip-It!, I asked the clerk, "How do I use these?" Expecting a vague, "you make whipped cream" kind of thing. I was quite engaged by his response.
"You need a device to puncture them," he responded, "I sell two different types. This one is $6.99 (he shows me a small metal device that you place the cartridge into with 2 holes on top) and you hold a balloon on top and fill it with the gas, then suck the air from the balloon. The other type is $60 (he shows me a whipped cream maker) and you just twist the cartridge on and suck the gas from the top with the lever. Its easier but costs more."
I left, purchasing a box of 24 Whip-It!s for $11.99 (for an actual whipped cream maker I own and use to make whipped cream with).
My ID was not checked, but I probably look over 18. The side of my box reads "Do not inhale, Danger to health", "Keep out of reach of children", "N20 cartridges are to be used for food consumption only and are not for sale to minors under the age of 18."
I (Justin) went to the Dixon Smoke Shop Tuesday to ask a few questions about Whip-its. The clerk, who said he'd rather not have his name printed, said you can also find the cartridges at Safeway and Walmart. After some investigating, we learned that this is not true. The only place you can buy the cartridges in dixon is from the Dixon Smoke Shop.
You can, however, find them on Amazon and other websites.
"It's not like just we sell it," he said, noting that they have a business license on file and the City of Dixon knows what they sell. "We also sell knives. You can buy a lot of things. It's your responsibility."
The Dixon Smoke Shop does not allow anybody under the age of 18 into the store unless they are accompanied by a parent. They have several signs making this clear. The son of the concerned Dixon High parent is 18 years old, so the Smoke Shop didn't break any laws as far as we can tell.
Still, what do you think of the fact that a smoke shop sells whipped cream cartridges as well as the necessary tools to get high with those cartridges? Is it fair as long as they stay within the law, or do you have a problem with it?
Whip-it Trend Growing
This ABC News report from back in March says Whip-its are making a comeback among teenagers and young adults, in part because they're so accessible. Demi Moore reportedly used them prior to being rushed to the hospital earlier this year as well.
"The most recent figures show that Whip-Its have become the most popular recreational inhalant of choice, with over 12 million users in the U.S. who have tried it at least once," ABC quotes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Do you know much about the drug? Share your thoughts below.