Oxygen bars have been popular in America since the 1990s, so why shouldn’t a similar idea take hold in China? Citizens of Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s polluted Henan province, inhaled deeply on Saturday when they received mountain air as a promotional stunt from a tourist agency. For some time, smog has choked cities across the country, though most especially Zhengzhou, which China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection ranked among the top four most-polluted cities last year, according to China.org.

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The Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve Development Co. delivered the 20 blue bags of vacuum-packed air from Laojun Mountain. Duan Junwei, a spokesman from the local tourism commission, ably explained that 82.4 percent of Luanchuan county, where the mountain is located, remains covered by forest. Meanwhile, city residents queued up in order to spend just moments breathing the air through disposable masks. (To stretch the limited supply, breathing was limited to a few minutes for each person.) Laojun Mountain is about 120 miles from Zhengzhou.

“I felt my baby move right when I breathed in,” a woman surnamed Sun, who is eight months pregnant, told China News Service. "I would love to walk in the mountain's forests after my child is born.” A company spokesman said the event was designed to encourage visitors from Zhengzhou to visit Laojun Mountain, renowned for its fresh air. According to state-run news service, he also added that his company also aimed to raise awareness of environmental protection and to promote the idea of environmental protection.

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