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Poppers: what you need to know about them

It’s the little bottle that makes you high, you know, this liquid that you indulge in during parties or for a hot night of sex. If you really need to know more about this product, our team at Poppers Aromas are glad to give you as many details as possible.

Four different poppers

First you need to know that poppers were invented in the 19th century by a French chemist named Antoine-Jérôme Balard. He was the first one to synthesize amyl nitrite in order to heal what is called angina. 

When the 1970s started, the homosexual community used poppers for their effects on their sexuality. Indeed, they had noticed that poppers increased their erections, made them last longer, increased their orgasmic contractions and delayed their ejaculations. Hence the attraction to these products.

When AIDS hit in the 80s, poppers were accused of causing brownish stains on the first-HIV positive persons. Thus for being responsible for the syndrome of Kaposi. It’s now sure that poppers had nothing to do with HIV and that their use has nothing to do with the transmission of STDs.

Later poppers were adopted by the younger generations who used them for their euphorising effects as well as for the effects on their sexuality.

The effects of poppers

As poppers dilate blood vessels, they were initially used to cure some heart diseases. The bottles containing poppers used to make a “pop” sound when they were opened, which explains their name. 

At that time, the side effects of poppers were a kind of euphoria as well as relaxation. Which accounts for the new role that they started to have : a recreational role for better sex instead of a medical one.

So if you want to experience the effects of poppers, you’ll just need to sniff them. One time through each of your nostrils first to then feel a sort of dizziness. Followed by a head rush and then the dilation of your body – including your anal muscles – and a sensation of warmth for around two minutes. And then nothing more. 

Each individual has a different reaction to the euphoria caused in different contexts. These reactions can range from bursts of laughter, a feeling of living the music played or an increase in your sexual arousal.

Poppers and the law

Poppers can be legal or illegal depending on the type of nitrite used and also the country where they’re sold. Make sure you’re aware of the local legislation of the state you’re in if you wish to abide by the law.

For instance, poppers are totally legal in France. Their use and sale are allowed but using them used to be banned in the 1990s. Then in 20007 the former Prime Minister – François Fillon – tried to ban their manufacture, import, export and retailing even for free. 

Luckily the French state council ruled against such a decision twice. Once in 2007 and the second time in 2013 when an inter ministerial commission against drug use tried to ban their sale.

Where are poppers legal?

They’ve been banned in Canada since 11 July 2014. As for the UK, after wishing to ban their sale, the UK observatory on drugs forced the government not to do so.

The risks of poppers

Caution ribbon

If you sniff poppers occasionally, you may experience dizziness, headaches, sweating, red patches on your skin, increased sensitivity to light, burns of your nostrils or even a lower blood pressure. When some symptoms are long-lasting, go and see a doctor immediately.

If you’re a regular user of poppers, you may sneeze, have nasal discharge, and also experience an inflammation of your mucous membranes or skin problems as rashes or scabs around your nose or mouth because of burns.

For those who wish to use poppers at high doses, you could have:

    • Respiratory depression.
    • Damaged nasal septum.
    • Serious form of anaemia.
    • Feeling of tiredness due to a lower quantity of oxygen fixed to your red corpuscles. 
    • Temporary problems of erection though your blood vessels are dilated.
    • Red blotches or experience the swelling of your face.
    • Yellowish scabs around your nose and lips.

The ways to use poppers

The only way is to inhale the vapours of poppers through your nose and sometimes through your mouth, which is scarce.

However NEVER drink any poppers! This could cause irreversible damage to your ENT.

Manufacturers advise to let the bottle open and thus let it release its vapours in your room which has to be dry and well ventilated. This will help your poppers mix with the surrounding air.  

Yet there’s another technique which consists in dipping your cigarette into the liquid and then have a puff. CAUTION: this product being highly flammable and potentially explosive upon contact with fire. You must then pay attention to cigarettes and other types of stuff to smoke.

Using poppers through your anus is also very dangerous as they will inflame your mucous membranes and cause serious lesions leading to possible STDs including HIV.

You may have heard about Jalapenos Poppers but they have absolutely nothing to do with your bottle of poppers. Though the hot peppers could make you sweat too and even slightly dilate your anus.

Powerful types of poppers

Some highly concentrated poppers can cause violent dizziness and also feelings of faintness. In case of overdosing, you may have symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, violent headaches, dizziness and you can also faint. Your sight may also be altered, you can have convulsions – which is rare – and also experience a deficit in oxygen which could be fatal in some rare cases.

We wish to remind you that poppers are not trivial products and that they have to be used responsibly and cautiously.

The precautions to take

Any type of consumption has their own risks. That’s why it’s recommended to refrain from using poppers if you feel tired or stressed. Using poppers in a reassuring context with reliable people is also advisable.

So make sure you don’t:

    • have too many inhalations in a short period of time to avoid OD.
    • use poppers if you’re tired or feel dizzy. Go and get some fresh air to feel better and stop using poppers for a while.
    • use poppers next to a flame as they’re highly flammable. 
    • come into contact with your mucous membranes, especially your nose, mouth and your eyes.
    • mix alcohol and poppers in order to avoid headaches.
    • mix Viagra® and poppers to avoid heart problems.
    • drive and use poppers.
    • forget to use condoms while feeling extreme sexual arousal.

The risks of addiction

Poppers can’t make you addicted and stopping using them won’t make you experience the syndromes of withdrawal.


Former English teacher in France, I am a fine Poppers connoisseur! I'm here to answer your questions.