Apple is pulling all 181 vaping-related apps currently available on its App Store as health concerns mount over vaping-related illnesses and 42 vaping-related deaths, Axios reported on Friday (Nov. 15).
The App Store has never allowed the direct sale of tobacco or vaping cartridges, but the ban applies to apps that offered vaping-related games, social communities and other 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,” Apple said in a statement to Axios.
Apple device users who have already downloaded the apps will be able to continue using them, the company said.
“We’ve updated our App Store Review Guidelines to reflect that apps encouraging or facilitating the use of these products are not permitted,” Apple said. “As of today, these apps are no longer available to download.”
Most patients inflicted with EVALI – short for a lung condition that has been linked to eCigarette, or vaping, product use – reported vaping THC from marijuana.
“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids applauds Apple for taking this important step and doing its part to address the youth eCigarette epidemic,” Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told Axios.
“By taking eCigarette-related apps off the App Store, Apple will help reduce youth exposure to eCigarette marketing and discourage youth use of these products. Apple is setting a welcome example of corporate responsibility in protecting our kids,” Myers added.
Officials last week announced a potential breakthrough in determining what is causing the vaping lung disease. Vitamin E acetate was detected in all of the 29 lung tissue samples that were tested, the CDC said.
“We take great care to curate the App Store as a trusted place for customers, particularly youth, to download apps,” Apple said in the statement. “We’re constantly evaluating apps and consulting the latest evidence to determine risks to users’ health and well-being.”
As regulators continue to examine reports of disease and deaths allegedly linked to eCigarettes, Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba said last month that it would stop selling eCigarette components in the U.S.