Apple has pulled down 181 vaping-related apps from the App Store worldwide.
On Friday, Apple said that it’s banning vaping-related apps from its App Store due to concerns that the use of e-cigarettes can damage the lungs or even kill people.
“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 an a youth epidemic,” Apple said in response to an AFP query prompted by an Axios report.
“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 a result, 181 vaping-related apps have been pulled by Apple from the App Store worldwide. Tobacco along with vaping cartridges was never allowed at the virtual shop, so the apps involved social networks, news, games, hardware or stores, according to the California-based company.
In a released statement, American Heart Association chief executive Nancy Brown said;
“We are grateful that Apple is joining with us and others on this historic day to stand against big Vape and their lies by removing all vaping apps in the App Store.
Our hope is that others will follow our lead and follow with their own powerful message that nicotine and nicotine addiction caused by e-cigarette use are leaving thousands sick and dying across the globe.”
Apple vets what is allowed on the shelves of its virtual shop that serves as the sole outlet for apps available to its popular mobile devices, including some 900 million iPhones in use around the world.
The company’s new App Store review guideline now prohibits;
- apps encouraging “consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol,”
- apps that encourage the use of those substances by minors, and
- any apps that facilitate “the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies).”
Apple said that it has not approved any new vaping apps for inclusion in the App Store since June after it added vape products to a list of things that are barred from being promoted through the service. The company also revealed that it has never allowed vape cartridges to be sold through the App Store, the apps available for download included things like store apps, games, news, social media, and apps that allow a user to control settings on their vaping devices.
Numerous prominent vape companies have apps that were previously available in the Apple App Store. Cannabis vape-maker, Pax, for example, has an app for controlling vapor and flavor output, temperature, locking the device, and firmware updates. That app has now been scrubbed from the service.
In a statement, a Pax spokesperson said that the company is very concerned and disappointed that Apple has made the decision to remove their app from its store, adding that its app allowed millions of users in the 34 states where cannabis is, to one degree or another, legal, “to ensure dose control and correct temperature of their tested, legally purchased cannabis.”
E-cigarettes have faced questions about their safety ever since their inception. Manufacturers have portrayed them as a safer alternative to cigarettes, but critics, including the Food and Drug Administration, say companies, haven’t proven these claims scientifically. The technology is so new that the long-term health impacts aren’t yet clear.
Analysts are especially worried about rising teen vaping, while conventional teen smoking has been on the decline for decades. Those gains have been largely offset by a rise in e-cigarette use among high school students. The Food and Drug Administration is planning to ban flavored vaping products to reduce their appeal to children.
In recent months, health officials have confronted a more urgent problem whereby hundreds of people have fallen ill after using vaping devices.
However, Federal regulators have found that the vast majority of vaping-related illness and death are linked to black market THC vapes (the main active ingredient in marijuana) but not e-cigarettes. One potential culprit: a form of vitamin E, common in skin creams, that may become harmful to the lungs if vaporized. This form of vitamin E has been found in some vaping liquids.
Although, these acute health problems seem to afflict a small minority of vaping users who use vaping liquids from unofficial sources. Consumers who stick to mainstream vaping products do not seem to be affected.
Pax argues that its app help users avoid dangerous products, not the other way around.
“Additionally, in the wake of the vaping illnesses, our app provides consumers detailed information about what is contained in their product, including results of state-regulated testing and compliance, terpene and cannabinoid profiles, and other information that enables the educated, informed and safe consumption of legal cannabis.”Pax spokesman
Nevertheless, people who already have the now-banned apps on their Apple gadgets will still be able to continue using them and to transfer them to new devices. But new users won’t be able to download these apps, and new vaping apps can’t be published on Apple’s store.
Additionally, US President Donald Trump said that he plans to meet with vaping industry representatives as he considers whether to ban flavoured e-cigarette products following a deadly epidemic of vaping-linked lung injuries.
Considering that it is already criticized as a “gateway” to tobacco or other addiction, vaping is facing unprecedented scrutiny amid a mysterious epidemic linked to e-cigarette use that has killed 39 and sickened more than 2,000 mostly young people in the US.