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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 06:00 GMT 07:00 UK
Warning over refill solvent abuse
A Staffordshire-based charity that aims to prevent solvent abuse is highlighting the danger of people sniffing butane cigarette lighter refills.

The Society for the Prevention of Solvent and Volatile Substance Abuse - known as Re-Solv - says that a growing number of the refills are being illegally sold to under-18s.

The Stone-based organisation is supporting the wider use of proof-of-age cards to try to address the problem.

The charity is also trying to draw attention to the fact that solvent abuse claims many more lives each year than the drug ecstasy does.

More than one person dies every week in the UK from the effects of inhaling solvents, with 63 deaths last year and 65 deaths in 2001.

The charity says this figure is considerably higher than the number of people killed by ecstasy, even though deaths involving illegal drugs are far more widely reported.

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