With vaping’s great popularity comes a growing competitive offshoot, complete with contests, judges, sponsors, and spectators turning out to see who can produce the most impressive clouds. The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on competitive vaping, which it calls an “extreme sport.” The sport is dubbed “cloud chasing.” Those who compete in cloud chasing utilize their e-cigs and lungs to produce truly mind-boggling vapor puffs. The fans who like to watch are called “cloud gazers.” Competitions are straightforward. Cloud chasers inhale on the devices, which convert e-cigarette “juice” into vapor. They then toast the competition by blowing the biggest, densest vapor cloud possible. In less than two years, the sport has adopted all the trappings of professional athletics. It not only has fans but teams, sponsors and cash prizes. Everyone is down for vape fun and games, as more and more people turn to vaporizing instead of smoking. A lot of now-fanatic vape enthusiasts took them up to quit smoking regular cigarettes. I do applaud anyone who has managed to successfully shake themselves from the demon grip of Big Tobacco. As someone who has spent many hours perfecting an ideal smoke ring to blow across the room, I must admit I can see the appeal of both cloud chasing and gazing as an activity. My personal favorite trick is the French inhale. It’s exhaling the vapor out of the mouth and inhaling it into the nose at the same time, forming a cloud over the upper lip. Many adults participate in cloud competitions. Two major cloud competitions in the US are the International Cloud Championships in California, and the World Series of Vape, in Las Vegas. The World Series of Cloud Chasing content took place in the UK in 2016. There are also competitions in New Jersey, Illinois, New Mexico, and at the Vaporium in New York. Canadian Cloud Circuit began in Ontario, Canada in 2015. Some consider it to be a sport and competitors can win prize money typically in the range of $250 to $2,000. The World Vaping Championship has a total prize purse of $100,000. Some competitors are sponsored by e-cigarette companies. This counteracts travel and equipment expenses. There are also teams. Some sponsors are organizing teams. A Competitive Vaping League is being developed. There are rules and judges. A list of rules is explained on several websites. Vapers compete by standing back-to-back when blowing the cloud of vapor. The person who exhales the larger cloud of vapor moves on to the next meeting. The cloud of vapor is measured using a yardstick or by a ruler on the wall next to the competitor. In Plano, Texas in 2015, the cloud of vapor reached about 5 feet. The cloud was measured at 6 feet from another vaper. The judge Matt Maynard said, "There is a skill to being able to keep a ball of vapor together without it dissipating." I don’t know about you, but I think ESPN 8, has a new sport to show. What do you think of cloud chasing as a competitive sport? Please comment below, as always, take care & vape on!
Eric Michael Bowersox