A new extreme sport is emerging among men, and the one requirement is that you have to have strong lungs to be able to win the game. The only problem? Its players are mostly smokers, or at least those trying to quit it.
Competitive vaping, also known as "cloud chasing," is sweeping New Jersey and other states and has grown in popularity two years after someone thought it would be a great idea to see who can blow clouds of smokes the biggest, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The way the game works is pretty straightforward. The players, called "cloud chasers," have to deeply inhale into their e-cigarettes so that they can blow the largest and highest vapor cloud. The judges are the spectators, called "cloud gazers." The game also includes actual sponsors and prizes.
Cloud chasing competitions take place regularly at strip malls or e-cigarette shops, which usually host competitions whenever they have to release new flavors for the device. Several shops in Dallas, North Carolina, Los Angeles, Canada and even Indonesia are starting to use the same marketing technique as the one in New Jersey, as they has been well-received, WSJ reported.
"The industry is blowing up. We might as well take it to the next level," said Garry Rivera from Surefire Vapor. He is organizing the World Series of Vape and plans to hold the event in December in Vegas.
But the vaping competition has its share of critics from its own group. "It gives vaping a bad name, and we don't need negative publicity," said Cheryl Richter, financial secretary of consumer group National Vapers Club. Other critics believe that competitions are turning e-cigarettes from smoking-cessation devices into gaming tools.
The e-cigarette industry, which started to emerge eight years ago, is a $1.2 billion industry, with over 8,500 shops in operation in the U.S. Shops, however, do not allow minors to get a hold of e-cigarettes, as they are prohibited for those under 18 years old as per state laws.