General Merchandise/HBC

New York Requiring ID to Purchase Whipped Cream

State law attempting to prevent abuse of cans as ‘whippets’ prohibits sale to customers under 21
Photograph: Shutterstock

ALBANY, N.Y. — Customers who want to buy canned whipped cream in convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail outlets in the state of New York—including Stewart’s Shops—must now be 21 years old or above and must present identification under a law that is now being enforced.

The law is intended to prevent people from using the cans as “whippets” to inhale nitrous oxide.

“This new law is an important step in combatting a significant problem for many neighborhoods throughout my district,” said New York State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. when the law was passed in late 2021.

Under this law, a retailer found in violation of selling a whipped cream can to a person under 21 is subject to a civil penalty of up to $250 for an initial offense and up to $500 for each subsequent offense.  

“The need to limit the access and sale of whippits first became apparent after receiving constituent complaints about empty canisters on neighborhood streets. Used whippits piling up in our communities are not only an eyesore, but also indicative of a significant nitrous oxide abuse problem. This law will help to protect our youth from the dangers of this lethal chemical, while helping to clean up our neighborhoods.”

Stewart’s Shops is among the affected retailers. The more than 350-unit c-store chain, based in Ballston Spa, N.Y., has posted signs in stores saying “effective 8/12/22 we will be IDing for whipped cream! Must be 21 years old!”, according to a report by WRGB News.

  • Stewart’s Shops in No. 23 on CSP’s 2022 Top 202 ranking of U.S. convenience-store chains by number of company-owned retail outlets.

The retailer did not respond to a CSP request for comment by posting time.

“Requiring age verification when purchasing whipped cream is another classic compliance burden placed on convenience stores in New York State,” Kent Sopris, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS), told CSP Daily News. “As businesses work to come back after the COVID-19 pandemic and struggle to hire employees, placing new requirements and financial penalties upon them only hinders progress. We hear constantly how important small businesses are to New York politicians, but quite frankly, laws like this prove otherwise.”

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