Glue Sniffing: Big Trouble In A Small Tube (1960s PSA)

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Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue., McCroskey, Airplane!, 1980

Source: Gif from Gfycat, from YouTube clip posted by digitalaero on 2010 07 22, originally from the movie Airplane!, 1980.

2020 has made me rethink vice as a survival tool.


I remember in the book Andromeda Strain, it was described in a scene some guy filled his mouth with model glue and it hardened with his jaw open.

I remember there being orange and blue tubes of the stuff when i was a kid. The blue stuff was less toxic, but didn’t work nearly as good.

ETA - Damn, the next video autoplayed after this. Makes glue sniffing look fun!

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I’m sure I’ve seen stories in recent years of kids sniffing glue. But up north in isolated communities, so maybe no access to drugs that just harmed in a traditional way.

I admit to remembering the smell of glue from making models, and how potent the smell of markers from the sixties. There was even this awful smelling stuff that came in a tube that you could make balloons from.

But it never occurred to me to deliberately sniff it. (There were things I did as a kid that only in adulthood did I realize it was a common thing.)

So I do wonder when the warnings became instructions. The warnings made it sound dangerous, but did it propagate the practice more than it naturally occurred?


I will never grow tired of



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When I was a wee little devil in the 60’s, this was such a big deal that hobby shops sold model airplane glue specially marketed to parents as a safe alternative to the evils of Testors brand cement. The stuff stank of artificial lemons and it was garbage as model glue. But it would “keep the children safe”.

I’m sure the moral panic was a good distraction from the lucrative hazards that were poisoning us kids (car exhausts bathing every outdoor surface in vaporized lead, clouds of second-hand cigarette smoke that hung over public spaces like a fog bank, etc). If you can’t see the forest for the trees, maybe somebody’s put a blindfold on you.


Yeah, the blue stuff smelled like lemons! And it didn’t stick shit together as well.


Or Adrian Mole. images (65)


I knew that this comment would be here already. I just wanted to make sure it was the very first one.


Glue eating?




After glue there was a bit of a craze to inhale solvents from aerosols sprayed into plastic bags. Then there was petrol sniffing - which had to be a pretty cheap high. I can’t imagine what habitual use would do to your brain.
I remember once visiting a boat building firm who were laying up molds in an open sided shed. The guys only nod to safety was a basic painters mask. I was 30 or more feet away and the fumes were so all pervading and powerful it was actually burning my eyes. Those guys must have all been high as kites.


It’s been a few years but I used to see kids “chroming”, or huffing aerosol paint from bags regularly on the tram, often with paint all around their mouth and noses. I only hope they outgrew it before it did some serious damage.

I built a few balsa wood and tissue paper airplanes in '70s. Small basement work arwa, just a desk and a chair in the utility room. Big 'ole jar of Testors “dope” for tightening and strengthening the tissue paper covering. High AF.

But I didn’t really get the “high” thing. I was just fuzzy-headed, the room spun wen laid down, and the constant ringing in my ears. I was still naïve about drugs.

Sorta related… I was also naïve about sex. My hippy uncle stayed with us for a while, slept on a mattress in the basement. He left behind a poster of drunk cat lounging in a martini glass, with the caption “Happiness is a tight pussy”. I didn’t get the joke; so drunk cats are happy? WTF? I caught on a few years later…


As a kid back in the day (an age before non-toxic glue) I would often spend all day in my room building plastic models. There were a few times, when I finally emerged, that I was so definitely messed-up from the fumes. Those were my first highs, though I didn’t recognize them as such at the time. In looking back, I recognize that they were extremely powerful highs, but not at all enjoyable. Ah, innocent youth.


I’ve never really understood what exactly they were talking about when they’d call it “airplane glue”. The stuff we’d use to slightly melt styrene plastic models as we built them… I was more likely to be constructing a tank or a spaceship or a car, than an airplane.


My memory says the glue left remains, so perhaps it’s changed over the years.

Maybe airplane modelling was a thing before other things, hence “airplane glue”. My father talked about making airplanes in the thirties. But in the sixties there were all kinds of models and I don’t remember calling it “airolane glue”. I did have a Superman model, the Flying Sub, a Vanguard rocket, a nuclear submarine, a satellite, a lunar lander, I can’t remember what else. Not many planes.

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