China’s Air Is So Polluted People Are Importing ‘Mountain Air’

With air pollution in China reaching disastrous levels, many Chinese have turned to a new breathing source in bottled air. A company from Edmonton is selling canned “Rocky Mountain Air” that is largely being exported into China.

While the canned air originally started out as a gag gift, there has actually been a high demand for the stuff. Founder of Vitality Air Moses Lam says that he realized the potential for the market when he sold a bag of fresh Canadian air for $168 on eBay.

Vitality Air is the maker of Rocky Mountain Air. The company was first registered in March of 2015, and it sells different sizes of canned pressurized air. The air is obtained from Lake Louise and Banff, and it is tested for maximum purity.

A 7.7 liter can of Lake Louise air sells for $32 online. It comes with an attached breathing mask, and it guarantees at least 150 inhalations. According to the company the air can be used for “exam prep”, “recovery” and “training”. However, Vitality Air is quick to warn its customers that its product cannot cure, treat or prevent any diseases or disorders.

When Vitality Air started selling the canned product to China, the initial shipping of 500 containers sold out within weeks. Now, the company is prepping a second shipment of 4,000 units. With the extreme amount of pollution in the world’s most populated country, citizens cannot get enough of the contained clean air.

Cans of “premium air” have been often sold as a novelty product in the past. In the 1960s, the Canadian Western Natural Gas Company offered cans containing “Alberta Fresh Air” as a marketing gimmick. But for Vitality Air, this gimmick has turned into real business. The product has reportedly been used by marathon runners, hungover clientele and pregnant women, among others.

Of course many experts are highly skeptical. With the thick smog of Beijing, even taking an occasional puff of canned air won’t allow one to fully escape the filthy environment. Most experts believe that any benefit that is experienced is merely a placebo effect.

Since the cans do not contain pure oxygen, there is no mild “high” when using the canned air. According to Vitality Air, Rocky Mountain Air contains 80% nitrogen and 20% oxygen. The ingredients read “100% Pure Rocky Mountain Air”.