The Vape Subculture

citizen vape

I have been thinking a lot about this subject since writing up an article about Vape Jam UK last weekend.  With all that was going on, I figured it is time to dive into the “vast vape sea”, a place where many want to bring a unique stamp to the mega subculture of vaping.

So what’s up with all this we are hearing about Cloud-Chasing competitions or Extreme Vapers?  A lot is up. In fact, the UK is officially hosting this year’s World Series of Cloud Chasing, and there is plenty of time to try and get involved if you have the power lungs to do so.

Qualifying events are taking place around the UK from April 1st -June 11 2016 in places like Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Camden Town. To find out more about these locations have a look on the WSCC site here. The final event will take place in August.  This is a pretty desirable title UK Cloud-Chasers.

The ‘Vape Culture’ has trickled into the UK slowly, and is now building momentum. The industry is growing rapidly here according to, “Just last year, e-cig use had grown by 24 per cent on the previous year, with 2.6 million adults using them in the UK alone”  It has been a monstrous industry in America, and in the next ten years it is predicted by the ‘Global E Cigarette & Vaporizer Market – Analysis & Forecast Through 2015 to 2025’, that the market will see growth of around £50 billion pounds!!!  I believe it.

There are entities, including the tobacco industry trying to control, and also cash into the industry (Vuze and Blu being examples you can pick up at petrol stations), but that is an article for another time.  This is all about the ‘Vape Subculture’ rising to popularity among the alternative vape set.


cloud chasing competition Las Vegas
Cloud Chasing face off, Vape Summit 3, Las Vegas, May 2015

Extreme Vaping aka Cloud-chasing is a like a wild west duel that sometimes grants the winner cash prizes or sponsorships. Using customised vapes called ‘mods’ – the goal is to intake as much vapour as possible, and who ever can exhale the largest cloud of smoke is donned champion.  Not an easy task without choking on the smoke. It’s more of a pride of place thing for these extremists.

Most cloud-chasers use a higher VG (vegetable gylcerin) with a small ratio of PG (propylene glycol) because VG burns much faster. An 80/20 ratio is common practice for some, although these ratios are down to individual preference.  Read more about what PG and VG are here.

Cloud-chasers build their own ‘mods’ as aforementioned, preferably using RDA’s (rebuildable dripping atomisers) with coils made from various types of wires. The wick, which is usually made of a type of cotton, is saturated with vape juice, a battery heats the coil and at intake, airholes allow for greater clouds. Sub-ohming or Subbing is the technique of heating the coil at a reading below one which generates more heat to the coil…it is a practice to be done by people who really understand what they are doing…certainly not for beginners. You can build up to it of course.

A surprising fact is that Cloud-Chasers are clean-edge, rarely having any nicotine in their vape juice.  Good thing I would say.  There has also been a lot of debate going around about cloud-chasers being rude and vaping giant clouds around innocent bystanders.  This is not considered good practice by anyone deeply rooted in this culture, nor is it for the innocent victim walking into a massive cloud of ‘mango-condensed milk’ smoke (wait…that sounds nice).  Professional vapers by no means would approve.

Don’t be a ‘vape douche’, as it is officially called, most people are vaping to get past old habits and trying to ease onto better ones, they do it discreetly. Vapers don’t really need the stress or the backlash of those inconsiderate individuals. Some pubs allow vaping indoors as it is not really regulated. It is up to the individual landlord, but as a vape advocate, you should know when the room is getting too smoky and take it outside. You did it with cigarettes!


What in the world is a ‘Vape Party’ you ask?  We all love a good party don’t we now?  Take a moment to picture yourself in a room with a full bar ready to make some fancy cocktails and a fridge stocked with craft beer, then suddenly, in comes a group of your cutest girl friends dressed to kill with little trays of vape juice, DIY or your brand of preference. They also are carrying trays of appetisers to compliment your careful selection of vape juice. Perhaps it is chocolate and fruity vape flavours like strawberry. Strawberry vape juice and champagne sounds like a match to me.

The possibilities are endless at these parties popping up in a hipster neighbourhood near you. Don’t let them steal all the fun, get on it. You can ‘Guess the Vape Flavour’, have a cloud-vaping, vape tricks or vaping while hoola-hooping competition. You get the picture.  If you want a more toned down affair just serve coffee.  Coffee and donut flavoured vape juice could be a marvellous pairing.

UNDER-AGED VAPERS(siiighhh): Rebels looking for a cause

Kids now are wanting to join in on the big Vape scene, it happened with cigarettes, now it is happening with vaping.  Good thing vaping is a lot safer. Vape shops are really strict about  asking for ID, and do not push it on the younger generation.  It is just the way it always has been throughout history, people want what they cannot have, especially teenagers.  Remember the neighborhood drunk you paid an extra pound so he could buy you some Stella?  Desperate times call for desperate measures. Keep any eye out for those little buggers.


Hyper-zealous vapers spend hours on Vape Forums having ‘vapegasms’ over DIY Vape Juice or the latest trending Nic-Juice (vape juice) on the market, or tagging Vape Selfies and videos of themselves doing tricks with Twitter hashtags like #vapelife. There are even Vape Soundtracks out there for your vape geek listening pleausre. Vape Cafes have cropped up in London were you can rent a vape while sipping a nice coffee. It’s a Vape Takeover!

Some vapers are seduced by the technology and gadgetry aspect , others by the desire to quit smoking, and some by the subculture and branding aspect that appeals to a cooler generation, especially ‘Generation Y’, who have been given the freedom to toke on a spliff in certain parts of the world, and often vape with cannabis wax or oils that are regulated by local and government authorities.

If you wish to actually be guided by a professional into vaping in order to quit smoking, or if you would like to take the next step into being a ‘modder’ (building your own vape gear) for cloud-chasing, we have our very own specialist vape shop in Hereford on East Street called CCR Vape Bar. These guys know what they are doing, and are fully stocked with supplies for all your vaping needs. I suspect Simon Field, owner of CCR Vape Bar, will soon be introducing new flavours into the shop after attending the Vape Jam UK convention.

Featured image by Citizen Vape.

ccr vape bar hereford


Author: M Cuadra

LA transplant living in England with 23 years experience in the fashion and makeup industry. As a Beauty, Fashion and Culture Blogger who loves punk, indie, grunge and live music in general, it's important to engross oneself and co-exist in these mediums to keep a cutting edge perspecitve that produces inspiring work for generations to come.

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