lay people

Hi guys,

can anyone let me know what lay people in below sentence means?

an inert,odourless, monatomic element known to lay people as the substance that makes
balloons float and voices squeak when inhaled.

Regards,
Amir

the reference is :
In recent years we have all been exposed to dire media reports concerning the
impending demise of global coal and oil reserves, but the depletion of another key nonrenewable
resource continues without receiving much press at all. Helium – an inert,
odourless, monatomic element known to lay people as the substance that makes
balloons float and voices squeak when inhaled – could be gone from this planet within a
generation.

People with no specialist knowledge of the subject.

One such person would be known as ‘a layman’:
oxfordlearnersdictionaries.c … n?q=layman

Thanks a lot Ms Beeesneees. I was looking for a related meaning of lay but failed to get the meaning. You cannot imagine how complicated is English.
What do you think about this part?

voices squeak when inhaled

Thanks,
Amir

If you inhale helium, it makes your voice sound squeaky. The phrase explains this, so is acceptable.