Vaping, in its most basic form, seems straightforward: you press a button and inhale from your vape device, before blowing out a cloud of vapour. The main point is the taste and feel of it, the drag of the vapour against your throat. But as the vaping community has grown, so too has the emergence of a form of vaping that’s visually appealing and even bordering on performance art. Through vape tricks, vapers can transform vapour into fascinating shapes, from classic O-rings to jellyfish like shapes and even the outline of a Batman archvillain.
One of the best places to watch one vape trick after another is at a vaping competition. Contestants typically perform cloud-chasing, where they produce massive amounts of vapour. They can be judged based on the size, cleanliness, and density of the clouds, or alternatively, based on what tricks they can perform with it in a freeform style. It’s extremely fun to watch, and it has even been called “extreme vaping” or “stunt vaping.” These competitions have their own rules, regulations, sponsors, and even cash prizes, even drawing in an international crowd as they take place in different countries.
Let’s take a deep dive into the world of vape tricks.
The Science Behind It
Vapour may have the advantage of being thicker and more easily manipulated than smoke, but it does not naturally form shapes. If you’ve ever seen someone do a vaping trick, whether live or through a video, that’s because they’ve put in a lot of practice and they have a very specific setup.
For one, you need to have a device that’s capable of cloud-chasing. It should allow for a wide airflow, which produces more vapour while keeping the temperature down so you can comfortably take the vapour into your lungs. The material of the coils doesn’t matter as much as how many coils your device has in the first place. A greater number of coils means more surface area for absorbing e-liquid, which leads to more clouds. Coils should also be low-resistance and paired with a high-power tank. Box, unregulated, and sub-ohm mods are the most commonly used, although you’ll still have to fiddle around with these until you gauge the right balance of settings.
To create clouds, your e-liquid should contain a high amount of VG. 70% VG can work, but max VG is ideal, especially for competitions. Most pros choose e-liquids that are nicotine free or have extremely low nicotine. This is for a practical reason—you’ll be working with a lot of vapour, and you don’t want to get overloaded with nicotine, which can have dangerous effects.
Finally, nearly all vape tricks require a direct mouth-to-lung inhale that’s similar to smoking. When you can collect the vapour into your mouth then pull it into your lungs, you’re a step closer to being ready for doing your own vape tricks.
A Guide to Vape Tricks
Now that you’re familiar with how it works, you can try your hand at some vape tricks.
Single O’s are the most common vape trick, and it’s where total newbies usually start! While it’s beginner-friendly, you’ll still need practice to get the hang of it. On the plus side, it gives you a good foundation because a lot of more advanced tricks incorporate this.
Take a drag and inhale the vapour into your lungs. With your tongue at the bottom of your mouth, exhale a little, and keep the remaining vapour at the back of your throat. Form an “O” with your mouth. Tuck your lips in rather than pushing them out. The size of your “O” determines the size of your ring, so it helps to stretch it out a bit. Then pulse your throat to release short bursts of air, as if you’re in mid-cough.
The Ghost Inhale is pretty cool to pull off—and some people even get it right on their first try! What happens is you blow out a ball of vapour, also called a mushroom cloud, then inhale it right back into your mouth.
After you take a drag, let the vapour linger in your mouth for a few seconds. Instead of releasing it as a cloud, you’ll be forming it into a ball. Form your mouth into an “O.” Push out all of the vapour with your tongue and close your mouth right away. You can experiment with your tongue movement, but a slow, soft flick tends to result in a dense ball that’s easier to catch. Once the vapour is out, move your mouth quickly near it and inhale it back in.
No, you won’t be blowing out fire. The effect is still impressive, though—you’ll be exhaling vapour in four streams all at once, through both of your nostrils and the sides of your mouth.
Take a drag, puff your cheeks a little, and pinch your lips together so that there’s no opening in the centre at all, only through the sides. The more tightly you pinch your lips, the smaller the streams will be. Finally, exhale through both your mouth and your nose. We recommend looking at a mirror so you can check that all four streams are spaced apart and not touching. You can experiment too with the amount of force when exhaling.
Double and Triple O’s
Comfortable with single O’s? Take it up a notch with double or triple rings. Produce these quickly enough, and you can fill up a room within seconds!
The process is very similar to creating single O’s. With the vapour already in your mouth, press down on your upper lip and rest your finger against your mouth so that the opening is divided into two. Your finger should be right in the middle to form nicely shaped rings. As with single O’s, exhale brief bursts of vapour, and you should get two rings coming out of your mouth at the same time. For triple O’s, open your mouth even wider and use two fingers in a V-shape to yield three rings. You can increase the speed by tapping at the side of your throat.
A bowtie split starts off with an O-ring, but then you compress opposite ends to meet together, forming a bowtie. This forces it to break into two, and the resulting smaller rings shoot off in different directions. It’s quite a complex move!
To accomplish this, create an O-ring. Push it from behind with your palm so that it expands and becomes slightly angled forward. Position your mouth so that it’s almost at the center, then do a huge inhale. This sucks in both the top and bottom portions of the ring, resulting in a bowtie-like formation that soon splits off into two rings.
Similar to the bowtie split, the jellyfish involves blowing out O-rings and manipulating their shape. What you produce should look like a jellyfish floating in the air—a large ring followed by a long trail of vapour.
Start with a large O-ring. Place your hand behind it and push it a little bit to slow it down and expand it. Next, take another drag and blow right into the center of the ring. Make sure that the ring’s large enough so it won’t break! The two rings will merge together and move forward while leaving behind a trail.
These are some of the most fundamental vape tricks, but there are tons more out there—you’d be amazed at what pros can pull off! To see more of these, check out the following Youtube channels: VGOD, vAustinL, and VapeChilla. Doing your own vape tricks will take practice and the right kind of equipment, but once you’ve mastered at least one, you can show it off to friends or even perform at parties!