Yesterday, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a report stating that 42 people in the U.S. have died from lung disease due to vaping and e-cigarette use. Following the new report, Apple has announced that they will immediately be removing all 181 vaping-related apps previously available in their App Store.
If you're like us, this news has been met with a "Wait—what? What are vaping-related apps?" The App stores guidelines provide a clue. The company added a new section under their App store guideline 1. 4. 3., stating, "Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store."
In a statement to Axios, Apple said: "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," Apple continued. "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 CDC report strongly recommends that e-cigarette users refrain from using the devices. According to the agency, there have been 2,172 cases of severe respiratory illnesses among people who reported vaping either nicotine or cannabis products. The first known vaping-related death occurred back in August, where the victim's symptoms were consistent with chemical inhalation injuries.
"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," Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said to Axios. "Apple is setting a welcome example of corporate responsibility in protecting our kids."