There is a vaping epidemic currently in the U.S. Along with many others, my teenage son has discovered vaping. I have explained to him why doctors don't consider this safe for teens and we're making progress, but he says he enjoyed blowing smoke rings and doing other tricks. Is there some way he can do these tricks without using the standard vaping liquids and equipment? On top of the safety concerns, I am allergic to the smell of the sweet-flavored liquids being marketed to teens.

I thought it went without saying that we need to stay away from anything remotely connected with cigarettes as well -- but apparently I need to make that explicit.

  • Is it possible to get vape liquid that doesn't contain any nicotine or flavouring? If it's just for blowing rings then it probably doesn't have to be more than the base oil and glycol - see quora.com/… for a reasonably in depth discussion. I'd be concerned that it would be the start of an addictive and life reducing habit for the sake of what seems like a frivolous reason now; would it be better to fund engaging an alternative interest? (Xbox, sport, motorbiking etc)
    – Caius Jard
    Jun 12, 2019 at 6:57
  • @CaiusJard - I wonder if there's some way that doesn't involve using any of the normal vaping paraphernalia. Jun 13, 2019 at 1:45
  • The synthetic smoke from vape is safer than real smoke from burning stuff, but yeah nicotine is best avoided. a vortex gun can blow smoke rings, but it's a machine and there's no skill involved, so probably little enjoyment.
    – Jasen
    Jun 22, 2019 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


You might find him some videos of blowing vortex rings (ring-shaped air bubbles!) underwater. I learned to do this when I was thirteen, and it's a hoot -- it requires (I think) a bit more practice than blowing smoke or vape rings, and it gets him into a pool, emphasizes lung capacity and breath holding, and makes smoking or vaping into a significant disadvantage because those activities tend to reduce both qualities.

I could do it unassisted, because I can't float in water, but if your son floats, you can use a "herbie" -- bleach or milk jug filled with sand and topped off with water, and a rope tied to the handle -- as an anchor to help him stay down long enough for the water to settle around him (necessary for the vortex ring to be stable).

Here's a Google search with links to videos and instruction articles for bubble rings.

  • Or maybe a 220 pound parent leaning on him in a hot tub? What about a 120 pound parent? Teen in question weighs 195 and is quite strong. Jun 14, 2019 at 17:14
  • A hot tub will probably never settle enough, and further isn't deep enough for the rings to expand or to last long enough to really see.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 14, 2019 at 17:15
  • So, swimming pool, pond or lake needed. Thanks. Do you have a suggested video link? Jun 14, 2019 at 17:17
  • Not that I can locate while at work, but search YouTube for "vortex ring" -- I even ran across one the other day for making square ring bubbles, though I'm pretty sure that one requires apparatus.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Jun 14, 2019 at 17:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.