The lack of breatheable air in China this holiday season has prompted the people there to actually buy it. Vitality Air, a company in Canada, reports a brisk business selling bottled air from two Canadian locations–Lake Louise and Banff. The cans of air vary in size, but the site states that “7.7 liters provide approximately 150 breaths of fresh Lake Louise air.” The startup company also sells individual, twin pack and cases of the premium oxygen. “We ARE,” the website insitst, “the next bottled water.”

CNN reports that the company’s co-founder, Moses Lam, after listing and then selling a bag of ziplocked air on eBay, decided to see if he could actually sell air. Considered to be a novelty in Canada, the air is being sold to the Chinese for $14 to $20. The compressed air is inhaled through a facemask, which accompanies the bottle. 

The New York Times reported this week on the worsening air quality in Beijing, China. With a PM 2.5 index of more than 400, the air is far beyond unhealthy; it is genuinely hazardous and actually poisonous. In comparison, during the same week in Los Angeles, hardly considered to a bastion of fresh air, the PM 2.5 index was in the mid 20 to 30s.

PM stands for particulate matter, and 2.5 its size in micrometers. A particulate in the size range of 2.5 micrometers is very small–100 times thinner than a strand of human hair, for example. Being so small, it can stay in the air for days or weeks and travel hundreds of miles. Larger particles can be made up of smoke, dust and pollen. Smaller particulates cause more damage not only because they are made up of toxic compounds and heavy metals from cars, fires and factories, but also because they pass through the smaller airways in the lungs, where they become trapped, resulting in a range of respiratory symptoms and illnesses.

The air in China was previously recorded to be the worst in December of 2014, but the current and even worse conditions have prompted officials in China’s capital to issue its first and now second “red alert.” Looking like a thick fog, with even neon signs and high-rise buildings masked behind it, the air quality is so bad that schools were encouraged to close and traffic and construction restrictions put in place. During the winter months, coal is often used for heating, which contributes further to the already very bad air problem. Similar to the weather inversion systems in Los  Angeles, cold weather conditions in China trap pollutants close to the ground, resulting in this most recent bout of lethal air.