Poppers is a slang term given broadly to the chemical class called alkyl nitrites, that are inhaled for recreational drug purposes, typically for the "high" or "rush" that the drug can create. Poppers have also been historically used for sexual encounters, including in the gay community.
If you trace the bottle of amyl (a type of alkyl nitrite) through late 20th century history, you trace the legacies of gay culture on popular culture in the 20th century.
Poppers were part of club culture from the mid-1970s disco scene to the 1980s, and the 1990s rave scene made their use popular again.
Poppers use has a relaxation effect on involuntary smooth muscles, such as those in the throat and anus. Most widely sold products include the original amyl nitrite (isoamyl nitrite, isopentyl nitrite), but also variants such as isobutyl nitrite, isopropyl nitrite (2-propyl nitrite, increasingly, after EU ban of the isobutyl form). In some countries, to evade anti-drug laws, poppers are labelled or packaged as room deodorizers, leather polish, or tape head cleaner.