Colorado law re "Abusing Toxic Vapors"
(18-18-412 C.R.S.)

black and white photograph of various household chemicals
Photo courtesy the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

Colorado's law against “huffing”

Section 18-18-412 of the Colorado Revised Statutes makes it unlawful to knowingly:

  • Smell or inhale the fumes of toxic vapors for the purpose of causing a condition of euphoria, excitement, exhilaration, stupefaction, or dulled senses of the nervous system,
  • Possess, buy, or use any such substance for the purposes described above, or 
  • Knowingly aid any other person to use any such substance for such purposes.

You do not abuse toxic vapors, however, if you inhale anesthesia or other substances for medical or dental purposes.

What constitutes a “toxic vapor” under Colorado law?

For the purposes of Colorado's law on abusing toxic vapors, the term “toxic vapors” means the following substances or products containing such substances:

  • Alcohols, including methyl, isopropyl, propyl, or butyl;
  • Aliphatic acetates, including ethyl, methyl, propyl, or methyl cellosolve acetate;
  • Acetone;
  • Benzene;
  • Carbon tetrachloride;
  • Cyclohexane;
  • Freons, including freon 11 and freon 12;
  • Hexane;
  • Methyl ethyl ketone;
  • Methyl isobutyl ketone;
  • Naphtha;
  • Perchlorethylene;
  • Toluene;
  • Trichloroethane; or
  • Xylene.

Colorado huffing penalties

Abusing toxic vapors is a Colorado level 2 drug misdemeanor.

Until March 1, 2020, the penalty is $50 - $750 and possibly 12 months in jail.

Starting March 1, 2020, the punishment is:

  • Probation of up to 1 year; and
  • Possibly 120 days in jail; and
  • Up to $500

But for a 3rd or subsequent offense, up to 180 days in jail

Defenses to Colorado huffing charges

Common defenses to charges of abusing toxic vapors include (but are not limited to):

  • You didn't knowingly violate any provisions of Colorado's law on toxic vapors,
  • You weren't inhaling the toxic vapors for the purpose of getting high, or
  • The police entrapped you or found the toxic substance as the result of an illegal search.

Call us for help…

If you or someone you know has been charged with huffing or a violation of other Colorado drug laws, we invite you to contact our caring Colorado criminal defense lawyers for a free consultation.

We treat every case with the attention and respect it deserves – whether it's for misdemeanor drug possession or use or for felony charges of narcotics trafficking.

We can be reached using the confidential form on this page or by phone at our Denver home office. We also provide bail and release assistance for all Colorado jails, including the Eagle County Jail.

Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver CO 80211
(303) 222-0330


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