Today, Apple removed all 181 vaping apps from its App Store. The story first broke at Axios, which heard from an inside source that Apple planned to make the move. Apple’s decision is a response to the growing health concerns and the subsequent backlash against vaping and the e-cigarette industry.
This move doesn’t come as too much of a surprise as, back in 2017, Apple blocked any new vaping apps from applying for a slot on the App Store. It was only a matter of time before the already-established apps would get the boot.
Apple has never allowed applications designed for the buying and selling of e-cigarette cartridges or e-cigarette pens. The 181 vaping apps removed from the App Store were designed for controlling e-cigarette functions such as temperature or powering the device on and off.
These apps will continue to function for those who already have them and will even transfer when they upgrade to a new device. The apps will be unavailable for new downloads though.
It’s possible that Google could make a similar move now that Apple has drawn a line in the sand. There are hundreds of vaping apps on the Google Play Store at the moment and, as far as we can tell, Google still allows new submissions of vaping-related programs.
Here is a statement from Apple regarding its decision this morning:
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, 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.
We have reached out to Google for a statement and will update this article if we receive a response.