In accordance with new App Store guidelines, Apple removed 181 vape-related apps from the platform and is outright banning the inclusion of any vape-related apps or features in its app marketplace. It might seem like a sudden move on the company’s part, but Apple has been slowly moving towards this inevitable ban for months now—and it’s easy to see why.
Vaping is often portrayed by the vape industry as being healthier and safer than smoking cigarettes, but the government and private organisations have been advocating against the use of vape products almost as passionately as they do against smoking, and with good reason. The US Government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that vaping has resulted in at least 2,172 cases of respiratory illness/injury (including internal burns), and at least 42 recent deaths were caused by nicotine vape products. It’s certainly not as high as smoking-related deaths and illness, but those numbers will only grow as more research is done and vaping’s popularity increases.
Many companies have responded to these figures by removing or banning the sale or advertising of vape-related products, hence Apple’s decision to pull all vaping apps from the App Store. While axing all the apps in one fell swoop was sudden, it wasn’t exactly surprising; Apple stopped accepting submissions for vape-related apps back in June and this formal ban is the last step in implementing its anti-vape policies.
If like me, you were unaware that vaping apps were even a thing in the first place then this probably doesn’t mean much to you, but those who relied on an iOS app to control or monitor their vaping devices will need to find a new platform. The Google Play store still has plenty of vape apps listed—some of which were also available on the Apple App Store—but these are Android app marketplaces and won’t work on Apple Products. At this point, unless you want to jailbreak an iOS device so you can run non-App Store apps, your choices are to jump to Android or, change your vape, or, y’know, stop vaping.