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A Canadian Company Is Making Bank Selling Bottled Air to China

Vitality Air says there's been an uptick in demand for canned Canadian Rocky Mountain air among customers in smog-choked China.

Air for sale: an idea ripped straight from that scene in 'Spaceballs'

Read: China's Air Is Still Really Filthy

For reasons that are still not entirely clear, people love buying air. Oxygen bars are, inexplicably, still a thing. After Kanye's Yeezus tour in 2014, concert-goers started selling all manner of air souvenirs from the show, including Ziploc bags filled with "Yeezus air." Noisey editor Dan Ozzi once started an eBay bidding war for a bag labeled "Williamsburg air," which, incredibly, got as high as $20,100 [€18.500] before eBay shut him down.

Now, a Canadian company called Vitality Air is cashing in on fresh, clean bottled air, sourced from Canada's Rocky Mountains. The three-liter cans, which are each "hand-bottled" and look like hairspray canisters, sell for $14 [€13] and contain enough air for 80 one-second inhalations. It's not entirely clear how you're supposed to inhale the air (huff it? inhale through a respiratory mask? use it to dilute the polluted atmosphere of your home, like air freshener?), but people are buying it anyway.

In Canada, Vitality Air is considered a novelty item, but the company told CNN this week that they have seen an uptick in sales to China, where air pollution is a well-documented problem. Their first batch of 500 canisters of air made available to Chinese customers sold out in two weeks.

Bottled oxygen isn't a new concept in China, where the air is so polluted that over a million people die from it every year. Last year, a travel company shipped 20 giant bags of fresh mountain air to Zhengzhou, the capital of China's Henan province, and gave residents a chance to inhale, as part of a promotional stunt to encourage people to take vacations out of the smoggy city. And in 2013, a Chinese businessman started hawking green and orange cans of "fresh air" for 80 cents a piece—and sold 8 million cans in the first ten days.

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