Following a slew of vaping-related deaths and other emerging health concerns, Apple has announced that it will pull down all 181 vaping apps from the App Store, Axios first reported.
"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 wrote in a statement emailed to MobiHealthNews. “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.”
The apps being pulled down are mainly social networks, news, games and hardware companions, according to the tech giant. While this is new effort means a ban on related apps, the app store has always prohibited sales of vaping cartridges.
Apple has been tightening up on vaping apps for months now, and has not accepted new vaping related products since June.
WHY IT MATTERS
More and more data has been emerging pointing to the danger of vaping. The CDC reports that as of this week there are 2,172 cases of e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injuries. The agency also reports that 42 people have died of vaping-related deaths.
THE LARGER TREND
This isn’t the first time a tech giant has clamped down on a public health issue. In March Facebook detailed a new strategy to curb the spread of vaccine misinformation on its primary social media platform as well as Instagram. The program set out to reduce the prominence (but not outright ban) certain flagged groups, pages and search results, as well as the adoption of a firm stance advertising content including false statements about vaccinations.
However, social media continues to be an avenue that many can consume vaping news.