What are inhalants?

Although other substances that are misused can be inhaled, the term inhalants refers to the various substances that people typically take only by inhaling. These substances include:

  • solvents (liquids that become gas at room temperature)
  • aerosol sprays
  • gases
  • nitrites (prescription medicines for chest pain)

Inhalants are various products easily bought and found in the home or workplace—such as spray paints, markers, glues, and cleaning fluids. They contain dangerous substances that have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties when inhaled. People don’t typically think of these products as drugs because they’re not intended for getting high, but some people use them for that purpose. When these substances are used for getting high, they are called inhalants. Inhalants are mostly used by young kids and teens and are the only class of substance used more by younger than by older teens.

Learn more about inhalants here

Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.



Inhalants are invisible, volatile substances found in common household products. These products include felt tip markers, spray paint, air freshener, butane, computer cleaners, and glue. There are over 1,000 products that are harmful when inhaled.


  • Inhaled through nose or mouth
  • Huffing inhalant-soaked rag stuffed in mouth
  • Inhaling from balloon with nitrous oxide
  • Sniffing or snorting the substance from a container or dispenser
  • Inhaling fumes from substances in a bag


  • Slight stimulation, feeling less inhibition, loss of consciousness
  • Damages sections of brain controlling thinking, moving, seeing
  • Slurred speech, loss of coordination, euphoria, dizziness
  • Long term use may cause damage to nervous system and organs
  • Sudden sniffing death may occur from suffocation or asphyxiation

Reference: https://www.justthinktwice.gov/drugs/inhalants


Inhalant misuse is big among teenagers and anything from households cleaners to nail polish remover to cans of whipped cream can be used as an inhalant. It’s important to keep household cleaning products away from teens and kids. If you catch a young child trying to smell a household cleaner, have a conversation with them and let them know how dangerous it is to smell them.

Read the article here for more information