Inhaling Toxic Fumes in North Carolina

by | Dec 28, 2020 | Blog Posts, NC Criminal Defense

Believe it or not, inhaling toxic fumes is criminalized in North Carolina. If convicted, this crime is punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 120 days imprisonment. Similarly, other activities involving toxic fumes, such as the possession or sale of toxic fumes, are also illegal in North Carolina. Such crimes are likewise punished as Class 1 misdemeanors.

Like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.

What is illegal?

A person is guilty of this offense if, to induce intoxication, he or she knowingly breathes or inhales any compound, liquid, or chemical containing any of the following:

  1. Toluol
  2. Hexane
  3. Trichloroethane
  4. Isopropanol
  5. Methyl isobutyl ketone
  6. Methyl cellosolve acetate
  7. Cyclohexanone
  8. Ethyal alcohol
  9. Any other substance
    1. Some examples may include fast-drying glues and cements, many paints, lacquers and varnished, thinners and removers, gasoline, kerosene, lighter and dry-cleaning fluid, fingernail polish remover, and various aerosol products.


This crime must involve the inhaling of such substances to induce intoxication. Intoxication is defined as drunkenness, stupefaction, depression, giddiness, paralysis, irrational behavior, or other change, distortion, or disturbance of the auditory, visual, or mental processes.


This offense does not apply to individuals using inhalants at the direction of a licensed medical provided authorized by law to prescribe the inhalant.

Possession of a Toxic Substance

Possession of one of the aforementioned substances is illegal if the person possesses the substance for the purposes of violating the law against inhaling toxic fumes. Like inhaling toxic fumes, this crime is punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Sale of a Toxic Substance

It is illegal to sell, offer to sell, deliver, give, or possess with the intent to sell, deliver, or give any other person any of the aforementioned substances if the person has reasonable grounds to believe that it will be used for the purposes of violating the law against inhaling toxic fumes. This crime is punished as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

DISCLAIMER – This forum is intended for general questions and comments about the particular law or topic. Comments are public and are not protected by confidentiality or attorney-client privilege; therefore, they can be used against you in court. Please refrain from revealing your identify or specifics about any actual criminal case. No attorney-client relationship is created in this forum.

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