What Are the Legal Consequences for Using Inhalants?

Common household products can be used as inhalants.
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The use of inhalants has become a popular way of getting high for teenagers and young adults. Inhalants that provide a high when sniffed include household items such as acetone (nail polish remover) and aerosol-based products like spray paint. The abuse of those types of products is also called huffing. Huffing is a Class B misdemeanor in most states and carries several different consequences: mandatory rehabilitation, fines, imprisonment, community service and probation.

Mandatory rehabilitation

In many states, when a person is convicted of a misdemeanor drug charge, the judge may rule the person must go through rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is 24/7 drug abuse treatment in which the person is removed from the environment where he had access to drugs. The treatment typically lasts six weeks and is followed by time in a halfway house or on probation, during which the person is drug-tested regularly and incarcerated if the test shows he has taken drugs again.


For Class B misdemeanors, the typical fine can be from $25 to $1,000. The court will require the person to pay the fine to the county where the offense occurred. Fines are mandatory and cannot be avoided, even in the case of economic hardship. If a person cannot pay the fine, he is allowed to spend a certain amount of time in jail to make up for it. Fines are typically accompanied by probation.


In most misdemeanor cases, it is uncommon for a person to be given jail time. However, jail is possible for a Class B misdemeanor. The first time a person is convicted of inhalant abuse, he can be sentenced to 90 days in jail. After the first offense, the amount of time can increase to up to two years.

Probation and community service

Probation and community service are the least severe of the punishments that can be given for substance abuse. Probation is a judgment in which the convicted person is required to check in with an officer, pay any fines, and get tested for drugs monthly. The person also cannot leave the state without prior approval. Community service requires a person to do certain types of work to make up for wrongdoing.

Read More: Probation Vs. Conviction

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