- Apple is banning all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store, according to a report from Axios, with the ban coming into force Friday.
- The tech giant’s decision comes amid increasing public concern over the health risks posed by e-cigarettes. A report published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 42 people in the US had died from lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use.
- Apple told Axios it agreed with the CDC’s findings and had therefore decided to act.
- Apple also said, however, that people who already had a vaping-related app on their iPhone would be able to continue using it and install it on new devices, Axios reported.
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Apple has removed all vaping-related apps from its App Store, with the removal coming into force Friday.
According to Axios, the tech giant has acted in the wake of a troubling report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, published Thursday, concluded that 42 people in the US had died from lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use.
Apple said it agreed with the CDC’s findings and had banned the apps as part of its attempt to keep the App Store safe — especially for teens who might consider vaping. Per Axios, Apple has never allowed apps that let users order vape cartridges directly. But there were a range of other apps on offer related to vaping, for example allowing users to control vape pens or to access vaping-related games or content.
“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,” an Apple statement sent to Axios said.
“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.”
The statement continued: “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.”
Apple, however, isn’t going so far as to clamp down on existing users of vaping apps. Those who already have a vaping-related app downloaded to their device will continue being able to use it, Axios reported.
Vaping, once seen as a relatively benign alternative to smoking, has been the subject of growing public concern in recent months. A recent spate of vaping-related illnesses and deaths in the US has raised alarm, though the exact cause of the deaths has not yet been established.
Thursday’s CDC report added that as of Wednesday, more than 2,ooo cases of “e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury” had been reported to it from 49 states, excluding Alaska.
Business Insider has contacted Apple for comment.