Turns out that electronic cigarettes are good for more than acting as a substitute for smoking — they also lead to what some may liken to an extreme sport.
In the world of “cloud chasing,” simply using an electronic cigarette isn’t enough. Cloud chasers, as they’re called, often build their own unique vaporizers from different starter kits to create as much vapor as possible.
One such event was profiled in the Wall Street Journal, which highlighted a cloud chasing contest at Metro Vapors in Plano, TX. Entrants into the competition tried to out-vape each other by producing larger and larger vapor clouds, measured by a large ruler on the wall behind them.
One competitor, Elijah Seybold, defeated his opponent by blowing a six-foot vapor cloud. Spectators at the event, known as cloud gazers, watched in awe as a panel of judges declared Seybold the winner of the contest’s first round.
It may seem like cloud chasing is just a game played among vaping enthusiasts, but the culture surrounding vaporizer use has turned it into much more than that. Competitions such as this one are taking place all over the world, from Raleigh, NC, to Los Angeles, CA, and even in other countries, like Canada and Indonesia.
So how did these contests get started? The details are unclear, but the Huffington Post states that the cloud chasing movement got its start on the west coast before moving east about two years ago.
The Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association reports that there are now around 16,000 vape shops throughout the U.S., many of which host events like these.
It’s not exactly a professional sport, but vaping competitions can come with some big prize money. Winners can earn anywhere from $250 to $2,000, and some competitors are even sponsored by vaping companies, who will pay for travel and equipment costs.
Some of the sponsors even put together teams, who regularly compete in local, regional, and national cloud chasing events.
Is it the next extreme sport? That may be debatable, but to competitors at Metro Vapors and other vape shops, it does serve as a sign that the multibillion-dollar U.S. vaping industry is doing what it can to bring new users into the fold.