The Home Office is set to court controversy with new proposals to ban Britons from sniffing their own farts. “It’s all part of the crackdown on so-called ‘legal highs’ the Tories promised during the election campaign,” anti-drugs campaigner Amy Handwerk recently explained to readers of the Daily Excess, in article entitled ‘Winds of Change’. “For too long these sorts of things were passed off as being completely harmless, but all the evidence points to them being just as dangerous as hard drugs. I know some people out there are going to say that characterising inhaling your own gaseous emissions as part of this ‘legal high’ culture, but it is really no different to inhaling helium, which has become a popular, but dangerous, fad.” The real danger of fart sniffing, Handwerk claims, lies in the fact that it can be carried out by addicts behind closed doors, without the need for any elaborate drug paraphernalia or substances. “I’ve had personal experience of this,” she told the Excess, fighting back tears. “My own son succumbed to this addiction last year – we all thought it was a harmless, albeit disgusting, teenage fad when he started disappearing to his room to indulge his obsession. But he started spending longer and longer periods closeted in that small space, sniffing his own emissions. When he didn’t come down after twelve hours in his room one day, we became extremely worried.” Handwerk’s worries proved to be well placed as, when she and her husband forced open their son’s bedroom, they found him prone on the floor. “The air was foul with the stench of his farts,” she recalled. “Such a noxious atmosphere could easily have proven to be fatal – as it was, our boy suffered severe oxygen deprivation and has been left mentally impaired. All because he sniffed his own farts!”

Whilst Handwerk’s unfortunate offspring now requires twenty four hour care, she considers him one of the luckier victims of the dangerous fart sniffing craze. “I’ve heard terrible tales from the families of other victims since I started the campaign to have this filthy habit outlawed,” she explained to the Excess/. “Stories of people choking to death on their own vomit after the vile smell of their own emissions makes them gag and even one case where someone tried to sniff his own bottom with a lit cigarette in his mouth – he suffered third degree burns to his face and behind!” The campaigner also claimed that paraphernalia to assist the sniffers is now being openly marketed on the internet. “If you go onto eBay right now, you’ll find this stuff being sold,” she told the newspaper. “For a couple of pounds you can get these breathing masks with a tube attached – obviously the tube goes up the sniffer’s rectum, so that they can get the full potency of their own wind. The government has to crack down on sales of this kind of thing and stop people from profiting from this evil practice.”

Despite her impassioned defence of the new Home Office proposals, many of Handwerk’s fellow anti-drugs campaigners feel that she is misguided in focusing public attention upon the supposed dangers of people sniffing their own farts. The real threat, her critics claim, actually comes from imported farts of dubious quality, which are allegedly being inhaled by club revellers and other thrill seekers. “It’s become big business,” Troy Thurt told tabloid the Daily Norks. “People are farting in bottles in Japan, which are then sealed and imported into the UK by dealers, who charge club goers and the like anything up to ten pounds a time for each bottle.” Whilst these bottled Japanese farts are generally harmless, thanks largely to the relatively healthy Japanese diet, Thurt fears that their high price is leading to the import of far lower quality farts to meet demand. “I’ve had reports of these things being brought in from Africa, the Middle East, even South America,” he told the newspaper. “The kind of diets those supplying them subsist on could result in real dangers for those sniffing them – all that spicy food in South America, for instance, has reportedly resulted in severe facial blistering to sniffers. Some have even had their nasal passages damaged and suffered watering eyes. As for the stuff from Africa – well the diets there are so poor that you could be inhaling anything!”

These low quality farts can easily be identified by their inferior packaging, Thurt claims. “Unlike the Japanese farts, they don’t even come in sealed bottles, but rather just plastic cups with lids,” he explained to the Daily Norks. “But some unscrupulous dealers aren’t even bothering to actually import the farts – I’ve heard of some of them getting tramps and down and outs to break wind into empty McDonalds and Burger King polystyrene coffee cups, slap a lid on them, then sell them for a quid a time to unsuspecting clubbers! I shudder to think what those farts contain – I certainly wouldn’t want them going up my nose, that’s for sure! I’ve heard that some of the cups even contain solid matter, where the poor bastards have followed through!” Worse still, Thurt claims, many of the cheap farts being peddled in the UK aren’t even pure. “The word on the street is that some of them are being cut with dog farts,” he confides. “In fact, some are up to sixty per cent dog or other animal fart. People inhaling those could be putting themselves at high risk!”

Experts, however, have dismissed the proposed banning of fart sniffing as simply another moral panic driven by the media and politicians, in an attempt to divert public attention from other issues. “There are no recorded incidents of people dying from sniffing farts. Either their own or anyone else’s,” Dr John Jakester, Head of Public Health Studies at Redditch College for the Performing Arts told the Sunday Bystander. “Granted, I’ve been subjected to some so noxious that you think you’ll die, but the truth is that they are simply methane, which is quite harmless. Unless ignited, of course.” As the academic pointed out in the Sunday broadsheet, it is equally impossible to commit suicide by putting one’s head in a gas oven, which also uses methane. “It’s the same with all these so called ‘legal highs’ – these scare stories are whipped up by conservative middle aged, middle class people who are worried that young people might be enjoying themselves,” he opined. “They just latch onto some perfectly harmless household substance and claim the youngsters are using it to get high – if it isn’t farts, it is plant food or bath salts. It’s all nonsense – I tried using bath salts to get a high myself. All that happened was that I foamed at the mouth for half an hour after swallowing half a bottle that I bought at Tesco!”