Competitive Vaping: A Significant Part of Modern Vaping Culture
Even though the modern e-cigarette was developed in 2003, it was not until 2009 that vaping earned its mainstream reign. Actually, the growing trend of vaping, especially in the USA and the UK, led to vaping being crowned with one very prestigious title. In 2014, the word “vape” was selected by Oxford Dictionaries as the word of the year!
From a single word to a complete culture
What is more interesting is that vaping itself led to the initiation of additional trivia – be it events, devices, communities. One of the reasons for vape being selected as the word of the year was also the fact that it has initiated the formation of new word structures. It serves as a modifier for many nouns, such as vape shop, vape lounge or vape juice.
However, around the same time when vape has gotten its Oxford Crown, one vaping-initiated trend grew in popularity as well.
We have all been chasing clouds as kids finding familiar shapes in them. But vapers brought a whole new dimension to cloud chasing. Actually, they took vaping to the level of “extreme” sport, and their e-cigarettes into sporting devices. Vapers are now not just competitors, but athletes!
Cloud chasing, a new competitive discipline
What exactly, in terms of competitive vaping, is cloud chasing?
Simply put, cloud chasing is a competitive action in which vapers are using their e-cigs (and lungs, obviously) in order to blow out the biggest vapor cloud. There it is – a competitive sport for everyone, even the audience! Those who are not inclined to blow clouds themselves have gotten a name too: cloud gazers.
During its short history, yet promising future, competitive vaping has adopted many characteristics of regular athletic discourse. Rules, regulations, fans, times, even sponsors and cash prizes are forming the language of cloud chasing sport. It started on the West Coast, where vaping and e-cigarettes had the instant success after being imported from China. Soon after, it spread all across the States, and Europe as well.
So, what does one cloud chasing competition look like? It is usually organized at vape friendly places, mostly shops selling vaping merchandise. These shops usually sponsor competitors. Of course, if a sponsored vaper wins, this leads the others to purchase devices of a certain brand from a certain store. That is why it is important for competitors to assemble their e-cigarette with quality parts. Like in good old western movies, vapers challenge each other. Challenging platforms are stages, sometimes similar boxing rings. Adding to the thrill, they stand back-to-back, inhale from their vaping devices, as deeply as possible, and on the count of three, they exhale. Based on the size, density and shape of clouds exhaled, they all round up till one vaper blows them all away with yet unseen skills.
If you are to see any footage of vaping competition, you will see the same thrill vapers have before inhaling as runners have before starting their race.
Competitive Vaping Enhances Socialization
Vaping, whether competitive or regular, has already established itself as a new, rather social phenomenon, independent from traditional smoking. It serves as a base for forming a new culture, and moreover, for youth to socialize, express a dose of competitive spirit, and unique talents all while keeping themselves away from tobacco.
It is not a wonder then that, besides having its own festivals, vaping offers an array of cloud chasing competitions. Vaping Capitol Cloud Championships are being held all around the US, and are the biggest national platform for vaping competitions. Canada has its own vaping Olympics – Toronto Vape Olympics. UK might be having the longest reigning queen, but this did not stop them to name their vaping competition “King of Clouds Contest UK”.
Interestingly, these competitions are gender inclusive. Ladies have equal opportunity to compete in cloud chasing and earn their titles respectfully!
From athletes to artists
In this growing popularity, the fact that many consider cloud chasing as art is not surprising. Specific vocabulary, like smoke rings, hoops, vortexes or jellyfish is used to describe these so-called cloud tricks. These terms can be understood as artworks. In such terms, cloud chasing and cloud tricks can even be observed as performance sculpture. Vapers exhale clouds, dance around them, altering their shapes by breathing or hands. There are even e-liquids being produced only for the sake of artistic vaping!
One of the most renowned “artsy” vaping societies is VGOD, combining audiovisual effects with their vaping skills and creating true masterpieces. In addition to already famous ones, in 2016 a video of a young man in a vapor store Vapor House (Dayton, OH) set the internet on fire. Blowing out rings of different sizes, he remarkably manipulates them with his hands, displaying a mesmerizing and remarkable performance. However, the pioneer in artistic vaping is Texas native, Titus Edwards, aka King Titus. Holding a title of vape bender, Titus reminds us that art is art, regardless of the medium.
If you have found enough thrill to feel ready to partake, or else observe, in any of the competitions, check where they are taking place. Inquiring in the closest vape store might be a good start. Or you can simply take a road trip and stumble upon a vaping championship.