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Vaping-Related Apps Removed by Apple From App Store

Health + Wellness
Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store. VioletaStoimenova / E+ / Getty Images

Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store, the company announced on Friday. The removal of the apps comes after thousands of people across the country have developed lung illnesses from vaping and 42 people have died.


"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," the company said in a statement, as CNN reported.

The App Store also updated its Review Guidelines for developers looking to place their products in the App Store.

"Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store," says the company's guidelines, as Vaping360 reported. "Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies) isn't allowed."

The App Store has never allowed the sale of tobacco or vaping cartridges. The banned apps are a menagerie of apps, games, and hardware companion apps that allows users to regulate variables in the vaping process like the lighting and heating of vaping pens, according to CNBC.

However, iOS users who already own and use any of those 181 apps will be allowed to keep them and to continue using them, even if they transfer their information to a new device, CNBC reported.

The move is largely symbolic since vapers do not seem to depend on iOS apps and the apps removed only represent 0.00010 percent of the 1.8 million apps available, according to Apple, as CNN reported.

"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," Apple said in a statement emailed to Axios.

Advocacy groups applauded the move.

"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," said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Apple is setting a welcome example of corporate responsibility in protecting our kids."

The move comes as the CDC officials confirmed what New York Department of Health officials found — vitamin E acetate is a possible cause of the epidemic of vape-related lung illnesses. The CDC found the compound present in 29 tissue samples that it tested from all around the country. They called the compound a "potential toxin of concern," as CNBC reported.

While the CDC says it is a breakthrough, it has not yet declared the compound the official cause of the outbreak.

"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," the company said in a statement, as CNN reported.

The App Store also updated its Review Guidelines for developers looking to place their products in the App Store.

"Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store," says the company's guidelines, as Vaping360 reported. "Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies) isn't allowed."

The App Store has never allowed the sale of tobacco or vaping cartridges. The banned apps are a menagerie of apps, games, and hardware companion apps that allows users to regulate variables in the vaping process like the lighting and heating of vaping pens, according to CNBC.

However, iOS users who already own and use any of those 181 apps will be allowed to keep them and to continue using them, even if they transfer their information to a new device, CNBC reported.

The move is largely symbolic since vapers do not seem to depend on iOS apps and the apps removed only represent 0.00010 percent of the 1.8 million apps available, according to Apple, as CNN reported.

"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," Apple said in a statement emailed to Axios.

Advocacy groups applauded the move.

"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," said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. "Apple is setting a welcome example of corporate responsibility in protecting our kids."

The move comes as the CDC officials confirmed what New York Department of Health officials found — vitamin E acetate is a possible cause of the epidemic of vape-related lung illnesses. The CDC found the compound present in 29 tissue samples that it tested from all around the country. They called the compound a "potential toxin of concern," as CNBC reported.

While the CDC says it is a break through, it has not yet declared the compound the official cause of the outbreak, as CNN reported.

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