Apple has been refusing to list any vaping related application on the App Store since June. Despite there being zero evidence that companies were using the platform to promote their brands, or that the presence of apps was linked to a take up of vaping, it has deleted 181 apps from the App Store.
People who have vape apps installed on their devices at the moment will find they continue to work, but they will cease to function after being uninstalled or when upgrading a new/different device.
In an email to Axios, Apple stated: “We take great care to curate the App Store as a trusted place for customers, particularly youth, to download apps. We’re constantly evaluating apps, and consulting the latest evidence, to determine risks to users’ health and well-being.”
“Recently, experts ranging from the CDC to the American Heart Association have attributed a variety of lung injuries and fatalities to e-cigarette and vaping products, going so far as to call the spread of these devices a public health crisis and a youth epidemic.”
“We agree, and we’ve updated our App Store Review Guidelines to reflect that apps encouraging or facilitating the use of these products are not permitted. As of today, these apps are no longer available to download.”
The American Heart Association (AHA) has set itself up as an anti-vaping organisation and frequently makes statements at odds with research evidence. It’s a shame that Apple has chosen to take its lead from the AHA’s statements.
It is damning that the company cites the CDC given that the rash of lung diseases is linked to vitamin E acetate contained in black market THC products – not eliquids for vaping.
Bloomberg-funded Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ president Matt Myers celebrated the decision: "The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds Apple for taking this important step and doing its part to address the youth e-cigarette epidemic. By taking e-cigarette related apps off the App Store, Apple will help reduce youth exposure to e-cigarette marketing and discourage youth use of these products. Apple is setting a welcome example of corporate responsibility in protecting our kids."
By taking a stance on vaping, Apple is acting in an irresponsible manner as it hasn’t consulted a variety of sources. Smokers looking to quit can still choose from pointless ‘Quit Smoking’ apps costing between 99p and £4.99.