As of this morning, Apple has pulled all vaping-related apps from the App Store, reports Axios. The move comes after a group of vaping-related illnesses known as EVALI has swept the country, resulting in over 40 deaths so far and one instance of a previously healthy teenager needing a double-lung transplant to survive.
Apple has never allowed the distribution of vaping apps on its App Store that enables people to buy vaping products. But in the past it did allow apps that served as hubs for news and information about vaping or even allowed users to control the lighting or temperature of their vaping devices.
But that's all changed today. Axios says Apple will remove all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store today. The move comes after Apple stopped accepting new vaping-related app submissions in June. 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, 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.
People who have previously downloaded the pulled apps will still be able to use them on their iPhone or iPad, however, developers will not be allowed to even push updates to those existing apps.