The oxygen comes in two flavors: “strong mint” and “grapefruit” and will cost 600 yen a can, including consumption tax.
— MSN News
Where to begin…
I remember the idea of canned oxygen even back when I was a kid. It was a joke back then, of course, but the joke went that people are able to put absolutely anything up for sale and there would be people buying it. They could sell oxygen and people would pay for it. Well, it’s not a joke anymore, it’s now a growing market in Japan.
It seems like a silly idea. Pay somewhere around $5.50 and get a can of grapefruit or mint oxygen. At times of stress, or when you feel tired, inhale. But maybe it’s not so crazy. How often do you feel you need to step out of the office a while to get a breath of fresh air? How many times have you decided to forgo getting that fresh air because you just don’t feel you have time? If a can of fresh air is relatively cheap and is available at the local gas station, then maybe, just maybe it could catch on for the busy or stressed out worker who can’t take the time to walk outside for a while.
Oxygen has been sold for years, just not to people who intend and have the ability to breath it while surrounded by air. Scuba divers and people on oxygen tanks are consumers of the product. But they’re not buying it for the flavors. They’re buying it to live under certain conditions. It must have been a hard sell initially to convince people that they should buy oxygen for use when they’re surrounded by oxygen.
According to the article, normal air contains about 21% oxygen, while one of these cans contains 95% oxygen. They claim the high concentration of oxygen brings about “a feeling of invigoration.” I must wonder, though, if a person could get dizzy or in some way high off the stuff. Still, better than the alternatives.
I also have to wonder what it’s like to breathe mint or grapefruit. I would think the smell of roses would be a good choice, or perhaps pine. I’m sure if this takes off, there will be more flavors. Though, as well as it may do in Japan, I’m not sure it would be so popular in the US. I might be surprised, though.
So it should also burn very well… 😉 (I don’t know anything about Japan or US, I live in Czech republic :-))
I remember watching a TV programme about 10 years ago (perhaps it was Tommorow’s World?) that showed people selling air in Japan. There were these masks and after a hard days labour you would pop into a shop and buy some of this scented air which you’d breathe through this mask. I guess it’s canning is an evolution of this.
As for whether oxygen makes you high, well I’m not sure. I’ve been in hospital with a broken leg and I was given oxygen for relief (because “people reported it made them feel better”). It certainly makes you feel light headed but I wouldn’t describe the feeling as europhoric…
AFAIK breathing air that contains > 50% of oxygen for a prolonged time causes health-damage (death?). Surely high-oxygen air gives a feeling of euphoria comparable to certain drugs. Anyways, reminds of “Clockword Orange” — the oxygen “bars”.
Canned air HAS been sold to people who can breathe normaly, also (although in this case, I’m really talking “air”, not specifically oxygen): I’ve been buying (absurdly overpriced) cans of compressed air to clean things (mainly computer things) out for years.
So not quite the same as Space Balls: The Canned Air, but it’s still felt a little strange to buy something that’s all around us like that. But of course, everyone was always saying bottled water would never sell, either…
Divers mostly use plain compressed air, not oxygen. Pure oxygen is poisonous at depth.
On the other hand, welders and other industrial users have been buying oxygen for a while.
Here on Iceland we have been selling tourists “Icelandic Mountain Air” http://p.vtourist.com/2005244-Open_inhale_and_discard-Iceland.jpg for 790 kr (12 usd). It’s just a regular can with some air that have been captured on the Icelandic mountains 🙂 From what I have heard then they have been selling quite well.
Oxygen is corrosive in high enough concentrations!
You can get this in the US too. In Hollywood, right next to the theatre where the Oscars are held, there’s an “oxygen bar” that sells various kinds of flavoured oxygen. I was there with some physicist friends of mine and we tried to get the guy to explain just how his oxygen was any better than the oxygen we were currently enjoying for free. We didn’t have much luck.
I think the stuff from Clockwork Orange was milk laced with various drugs (Veloset, Synthomesc and Drencrum sp?) not oxygen.
Divers can use pure oxygen but only in closed circuit breathing apparatus.
Honestly, the best thing I can think of using this for is giving fires a little kick to get started.
Let’s just hope people don’t mix their oxygen fix with smoking.
“Since oxygen bars were introduced in the United States in the late 1990s…”
Well, buying a can of flavoured oxygen for the sake of fun isn’t that bad… But if these things are becoming popular as a result of increase in the amount of stress people suffer, it’s really a horrible sign! And like many other horrible things that finally become “normal” it won’t take too long for these things to become normal… god bless stupdification!
Would anyone happen to know the name of the company that manufactures Fresh Icelandic Mountain Air? I need a picture too. I’m writing an article about the product. Thanks a lot for your help.
I have just tried some of this canned air and its….erm….air! I did laugh when I tried it though….omoshiroi!