In reaction to the ‘vaping crisis’, Apple has controversially removed all vaping related apps from the App Store.
What is the vaping crisis?
Throughout the early summer months of summer 2019, it was reported that over 450 people had fallen to a mystery illness which eventually led to the deaths of 12 people. The illness was eventually linked to Vaping E-liquid that contained vitamin E.
In response, several states issued statements discouraging vaping and some even banned it altogether. Currently, the FDA and White House are investigating whether or not vaping is actually dangerous.
In response to the vaping crisis and citing advice from health experts, Apple said in a recent press conference that they were “updated our App Store Review Guidelines to reflect that apps encouraging or facilitating the use of these [vaping] products are not permitted“.
Several industry figures believe that the ban is an overreaction. Cara Robison, Head of CX at UK Dry Herb Vape shop, Vape Elevate argues that “the majority of vaping apps don’t encourage vaping, they actually provide users with more information which empowers people to be able educated and informed choices.”
This isn’t the first time Apple have removed vape related content from their walled garden. In 2017, Apple refused to update the app of British vaping online forum, Planet Of The Vapes. When questioned about the refusal, Apple claimed that they were “no longer accepting any tobacco or nicotine content”. It appeared they were specifically targeting apps
However, it appears that the 2019 vaping ban is far more extensive and wide-reaching. This time around, over 180 individual apps have been removed from the App Store. The affected apps include anything related to vaporizers including wattage calculators, games and companion apps that allow users to control the temperature on their devices.
Apps already downloaded currently remain usable.
What does this mean for the vaping community?
Just as there are millions of iPhone users, there are millions of people who enjoy vaping so this is a decision that Apple can’t have taken lightly. There is inevitably some overlap between the two so we can assume some Apple fans will be affected.
Mobile apps are rarely a prerequisite for vaporizers, however, they often do enhance vaping experiences and also add extra functionality to devices. More often than not, the app acts as the product’s USP and make up a significant portion of advertising campaigns. Examples of this include the Pax 3, which is ironically referred to as the ‘iPhone’ of vaporizers.
The only silver lining for current users of app-enabled vaporizers is that apps already installed on mobile devices will stay installed and functional.