Vaping apps getting removed from App Store amid health concerns

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2019
Over 180 vaping-related apps will be removed from the App Store in the coming hours and days, as Apple seeks to reduce youth exposure to e-cigarette marketing.

Apple removes vape-related apps from App Store


Vape pen manufacturers have an assortment of apps that allow users to control the temperature and lighting of their vape pens via their iPhone. There also had been instances of apps that provided vaping-related news and vaping-related games.

In June of this year, Apple had stopped accepting new apps that promoted vaping. Now, 181 vaping-related apps will be removed from the App Store. It's currently unclear whether those who own these apps will be able to continue to re-download them in the future.

"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 told Axios. "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."

A quick spot-check of the App Store hasn't shown evidence of the removal yet, nor has the public-facing review guidelines been modified as of 7:50 A.M Eastern Time. It isn't presently clear if users that have already downloaded the apps, will be allowed to re-download them in the future, of if they will be stricken entirely from the service.

The CDC has reported that at least 42 people have died from vaping-related illnesses. Most who have died had been using unregulated THC-based cartridges, though there have been instances of those using nicotine based cartridges.

The CDC suspects that the chemical of concern is vitamin E acetate, a thickening agent in vaping products. While not harmful when ingested or applied to the skin, vitamin E acetate is suspected to interfere with normal lung function when heated and inhaled.

Apple has never allowed the sale of vape cartridges directly from any apps.

Apple has removed apps from the App Store before. In 2008, Apple had removed the $999 "I'm Rich" iPhone app, which simply showed a graphic of a ruby once purchased. Apple had also removed "Clicker Heroes" earlier this year after a copyright claim.

Recently, Tim Cook had defended the choice to remove HKMap Live from the app store, citing concerns that the app had been used to target individual officers or victimize property where no police were present.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,012member
    The anti--vape hysteria is just going to push people back to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.   The problem is not with legal vapes, by and large.  It's with illegal products and bootleg vapes.  Banning flavors?  OK.  But they are going much further.  The war against all tobacco is also continuing.  A recent bill that passed committee would ban all online sales, *including* premium cigars (which the FDA's own data say aren't marketed to kids).   

    razorpitcat52williamlondonSpamSandwich
  • Reply 2 of 36
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,450member
    sdw2001 said:
    The anti--vape hysteria is just going to push people back to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.   The problem is not with legal vapes, by and large.  It's with illegal products and bootleg vapes.  Banning flavors?  OK.  But they are going much further.  The war against all tobacco is also continuing.  A recent bill that passed committee would ban all online sales, *including* premium cigars (which the FDA's own data say aren't marketed to kids).   

    It is mostly teens and young adults who vape not people who smoke cigarettes and decided they want 10 times the nicotine from a vaping device. 

    edited November 2019
  • Reply 3 of 36
    This is ridiculous. The vaping products that are causing problems are vape cartridges. They've pulled the apps for several dry herb vaping devices. These devices take dry cannabis and heat it so that it produces vapor, not smoke. It is a far healthier way of consuming, since no solids get into the lungs.

    Since these apps are missing, these $300+ devices are worthless. For instance, the Firefly app was one of the apps that were pulled. The Firefly has no user interface on the devices. It's controlled 100% by the app. These can no longer be used. By the way, the Firefly was developed by a couple of ex Apple execs.
    cornchipcy_starkmand_2cat52
  • Reply 4 of 36
    sdw2001 said:
    The anti--vape hysteria is just going to push people back to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.   The problem is not with legal vapes, by and large.  It's with illegal products and bootleg vapes.  Banning flavors?  OK.  But they are going much further.  The war against all tobacco is also continuing.  A recent bill that passed committee would ban all online sales, *including* premium cigars (which the FDA's own data say aren't marketed to kids).   
    It’s not hysteria when it’s science based. Data is showing that inhaling toxic chemicals into your lungs is harmful and causes medical problems (surprise), thus the regulations and bans. And it isn’t just bootleg vapes. Whether you believe the government should regulate or ban harmful products is separate question, but it isn’t baseless hysteria. 

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7672731/Vaping-just-dangerous-heart-smoking-cigarettes-researchers-warn.html

    https://komonews.com/news/consumer/new-study-vaping-may-harm-the-heart-more-than-tobacco

    https://www.newsweek.com/vaping-could-potentially-even-more-harmful-hearts-smoking-scientists-warn-1470951
    edited November 2019 dysamoriacornchipWgkruegerwilliamlondonspice-boymuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 5 of 36
    So stupid. What are they going to remove next? Food Network app because they feature recipes for high calorie foods? Car apps because cars are bad for the environment and can cause accidents/deaths? Stupid.
    shaminorazorpitcy_starkmanacejax805cat52williamlondonJaiOh81
  • Reply 6 of 36
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    I came here to watch the free-market crazies spew outrage and disgust at “regulation”...
    Wgkruegermknelsonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 7 of 36
    So stupid. What are they going to remove next? Food Network app because they feature recipes for high calorie foods? Car apps because cars are bad for the environment and can cause accidents/deaths? Stupid.
    High-calorie meals are not inherently harmful to human health. For example I’m very active, and require a high caloric intake for continued athletic performance. So this analogy doesn’t work with inhaling toxic chemicals, which is inherently harmful. Likewise with cars, where accidents/death are circumstantial and not inherent simply by driving. Your analogies don’t work.

    A better analogy would be tobacco apps. Tobacco is both legal and inherently harmful to health. Does Apple allow tobacco apps in their store? 
    edited November 2019 Wgkruegercy_starkmanwilliamlondonkevin kee
  • Reply 8 of 36
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,697member
    Well that sucks ... Haha!
    cornchipSpamSandwich
  • Reply 9 of 36
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    tylersdad said:
    This is ridiculous. The vaping products that are causing problems are vape cartridges. They've pulled the apps for several dry herb vaping devices. These devices take dry cannabis and heat it so that it produces vapor, not smoke. It is a far healthier way of consuming, since no solids get into the lungs.

    Since these apps are missing, these $300+ devices are worthless. For instance, the Firefly app was one of the apps that were pulled. The Firefly has no user interface on the devices. It's controlled 100% by the app. These can no longer be used. By the way, the Firefly was developed by a couple of ex Apple execs.
    Hmm, I wonder if the developers can make a web app version? Can’t imagine the app doing a whole lot in the first place.

    Developers, can you access Bluetooth devices through the browser? Seems like that’s all the native app would be doing anyways.

    MacPro said:
    Well that sucks ... Haha!
    For real. People just need to stop, take a deep breath, and relax.  :D
    cornchip
  • Reply 10 of 36
    M68000M68000 Posts: 706member
    On a somewhat related note,  just saw article the other day that number of people smoking is significantly down.  Great news.   Enjoy the fresh air.
  • Reply 11 of 36
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,012member
    sdw2001 said:
    The anti--vape hysteria is just going to push people back to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.   The problem is not with legal vapes, by and large.  It's with illegal products and bootleg vapes.  Banning flavors?  OK.  But they are going much further.  The war against all tobacco is also continuing.  A recent bill that passed committee would ban all online sales, *including* premium cigars (which the FDA's own data say aren't marketed to kids).   
    It’s not hysteria when it’s science based. Data is showing that inhaling toxic chemicals into your lungs is harmful and causes medical problems (surprise), thus the regulations and bans. And it isn’t just bootleg vapes. Whether you believe the government should regulate or ban harmful products is separate question, but it isn’t baseless hysteria. 

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7672731/Vaping-just-dangerous-heart-smoking-cigarettes-researchers-warn.html

    https://komonews.com/news/consumer/new-study-vaping-may-harm-the-heart-more-than-tobacco

    https://www.newsweek.com/vaping-could-potentially-even-more-harmful-hearts-smoking-scientists-warn-1470951
    Completely absurd.  Commercial nicotine vapes are not anywhere near as dangerous as cigarettes.  There is no tar, no other chemicals.  Nicotine is not harmful in anything other than extreme quantities.  Post all the newsweek articles you want...it's just not true.  

    It is baseless hysteria. We've had an increase in vape related illnesses, almost all of which are related to ILLEGAL and bootleg vaping products.  Inhaling water vapor with nicotine is simply not harmful.  
    cornchipcy_starkmancat52mobirdwilliamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 36
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,012member
    dysamoria said:
    I came here to watch the free-market crazies spew outrage and disgust at “regulation”...
    Why is supporting a free market "crazy?"  
    razorpitentropyscat52SpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 36

    Apple are free to allow or block any content they choose and I can understand their reaction to the high-profile cases of vaping related illness and huge numbers of underage users that the US are currently experiencing.  I’m just disappointed that the whole situation is based on a misunderstanding of the actual issues and potential risks posed to the public.

    I agree fully with StrangeDays’ point that decisions need to be made using science based evidence – The issue with the US regulations and bans is that they’re not being based on science, certainly not a State level:  They appear to be based at best on political populism rather than evidence-lead health policy.

    I say this as a public health professional and ex-smoker who previously vaped, and also as a resident of the UK.  The Government here has based its intervention to vaping on evidence which has been peer-reviewed by health practitioners and professionals, which has resulted in actively encouraging smokers to switch to vaping as part of a harm-reduction strategy, being at least 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco. 

    Let’s be clear – this position is in the UK Government’s interest:  Fewer smoking related illnesses means fewer overall referrals to NHS services, which in turn means a saving in the cost of delivery; and that is a net saving, even when considering the loss of tobacco tax revenue that results from fewer smokers (vaping products are taxed at the standard VAT rate).  This in itself reaffirms the UK Government’s belief in vaping as a form of harm reduction and is one of the rare cases where both their financial- and the wider public health-interests overlap. 

    The situation in the US is very different, particularly in the nature and marketing of available vaping products, and reasonable legislation to mitigate any potential harm is clearly needed.  There are two separate issues at play and there are distinct:  (1) Underage vapers are attracted to the exceedingly high-strength yet smooth-vaping salt-nicotine in ‘pod’ style systems, which are strong enough to give a rush or buzz (50-70 mg/ml in some pods, when the legal limit in the EU is 20 mg/ml, and evidence that flavours are not major factor can be found even from US studies); and (2) the illicit sale of THC containing pods which have been cut with Vitamin E acetate, which is causing  serious or sadly even fatal injuries in users.   

    There are more complexity to these two issues than I can outline here (this post is long enough already!), but in simple terms they are both based in criminality being the same as underage alcohol drinking and drug dealing respectively.  Regulation and enforcement is needed to tackle them, but this must be applied without discouraging or preventing smokers from switching to a less-harmful habit.

    Despite the many scare stories the media presents – many potentially based on bias big-Tobacco or big-Pharma funded US research – vaping is without question significantly less harmful than smoking and has become the most successful method of smoking sensation we have available.  It is likely not risk-free, but millions of ex-smokers have been vaping for around a decade now and we have only in the last few months seen health issues in a relatively small number of recently-started vapers?  This shows that the problem is clearly not a fundamental problem with traditional nicotine vaping and something new has happened, now all but confirmed by the CDC.

    I fear Apple may regret this decision in the future once the evidence in the States has shaken out and expect that we haven’t seen the last of vaping apps in the App Store.

    Public Health England – Vaping in England: an evidence update February 2019

    cornchipbfranksJaiOh81tenthousandthings
  • Reply 14 of 36
    sdw2001 said:
    sdw2001 said:
    The anti--vape hysteria is just going to push people back to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.   The problem is not with legal vapes, by and large.  It's with illegal products and bootleg vapes.  Banning flavors?  OK.  But they are going much further.  The war against all tobacco is also continuing.  A recent bill that passed committee would ban all online sales, *including* premium cigars (which the FDA's own data say aren't marketed to kids).   
    It’s not hysteria when it’s science based. Data is showing that inhaling toxic chemicals into your lungs is harmful and causes medical problems (surprise), thus the regulations and bans. And it isn’t just bootleg vapes. Whether you believe the government should regulate or ban harmful products is separate question, but it isn’t baseless hysteria. 

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7672731/Vaping-just-dangerous-heart-smoking-cigarettes-researchers-warn.html

    https://komonews.com/news/consumer/new-study-vaping-may-harm-the-heart-more-than-tobacco

    https://www.newsweek.com/vaping-could-potentially-even-more-harmful-hearts-smoking-scientists-warn-1470951
    Completely absurd.  Commercial nicotine vapes are not anywhere near as dangerous as cigarettes.  There is no tar, no other chemicals.  Nicotine is not harmful in anything other than extreme quantities.  Post all the newsweek articles you want...it's just not true.  

    It is baseless hysteria. We've had an increase in vape related illnesses, almost all of which are related to ILLEGAL and bootleg vaping products.  Inhaling water vapor with nicotine is simply not harmful.  
    Hmm. Interesting opinions you have. Where do you practice medicine? Or if you’re a medical researcher, what was your degree and where do you research now?

    You opinions are contradictory to facts tho — vapes do actually have many different chemicals in them, including (but not limited to*) nicotine. I suggest you do some research, read the articles, etc. The Daily Mail piece is a good place to start but here are more:

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/10/18/17996706/vape-juice-flavoring-electronic-cigarettes-chemicals-ingredients-irritating-e-liquid

    https://tobacco.ucsf.edu/9-chemicals-identified-so-far-e-cig-vapor-are-california-prop-65-list-carcinogens-and-reproductive-toxins

    https://www.insider.com/what-chemicals-in-nicotine-vapes-can-do-to-your-body-2019-9

    *such as:

    Acetaldehyde
    Cadmium
    Formaldehyde
    Isoprene
    Lead
    Nickel
    Nicotine
    N-Nitrosonornicotine
    Toluene
    williamlondon
  • Reply 15 of 36

    Despite the many scare stories the media presents – many potentially based on bias big-Tobacco or big-Pharma funded US research – vaping is without question significantly less harmful than smoking

    That isn’t without question at all. My links above and others you can find are making the case that the long term heart disease issues are the same, possibly worse. 

    “A study by researchers at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedar-Sinai in Los Angeles found that vaping can be more harmful to the heart than tobacco. [...] [Be] very careful and not to fall for the promises that e-cigarette producers make suggesting that e-cigarettes are healthy alternatives to cigarette smoking because we're just learning now that e-cigarettes might actually be just as harmful as tobacco cigarettes or even more harmful."

    This is a topic-rated cardiologists group, #3 rated in the nation. Not funded by tobacco companies, lol, who btw are buying up vape companies. 

    https://www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/heart.html

    ....anyway yes I agree that using science and research should be the basis of govt policy. But the pipe dream of ecigs being healthy alternatives to traditional smoking is not looking good. 

    Back to Apple — do they allow tobacco apps? I really don’t know. 
    edited November 2019
  • Reply 16 of 36
    the article claims the issue is promotion of vaping to teens.

    why are teens accessing apps in the appstore that are 18+ or 21+. how can they even see them?

    surely this is about users giving fraudulent information to apple.
    cat52
  • Reply 17 of 36
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,043member
    sdw2001 said:
    The anti--vape hysteria is just going to push people back to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.   The problem is not with legal vapes, by and large.  It's with illegal products and bootleg vapes.  Banning flavors?  OK.  But they are going much further.  The war against all tobacco is also continuing.  A recent bill that passed committee would ban all online sales, *including* premium cigars (which the FDA's own data say aren't marketed to kids).   

    Yep, there is already leading information showing an uptick in cigarette purchases. This issue was caused by people buying vaps off the street so if you do stupid things and put things in your body and do not know what it is, then you assume the risk. 

    When this first came to light there was Dr who said based on what he knew and saw he thought it was the fact all these vaps had Vitamins E oils and the kind of lung damage these people had is similar to people who got oil vapors in their lungs. The CDC ignore this Dr observations and created a crisis, now the CDC is saying they believe it is now due to the Vitamins E oil in the vaps. Instead of the CDC putting a warning out not to buy vaps off the street they told everyone it was dangerous no mater what and states began outlawing vaps.
    sdw2001cat52
  • Reply 18 of 36

    Sad development. For many older smokers vaping proofed to be a much healthier alternative. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/e-cigarettes-an-evidence-update

    Don't forget that your states finances are related to the percentage of smokers in that state. Billions in retribution by the tobacco companies. Billions that are often already spent based on that percentge. Now if all those long term smokers turn to vaping.....

  • Reply 19 of 36
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 1,252member
    A better analogy would be tobacco apps. Tobacco is both legal and inherently harmful to health. Does Apple allow tobacco apps in their store? 
    Alcohol is also both legal and inherently harmful to health.

    And yes, Apple allows alcohol apps in their store.
    https://itunes.apple.com/ru/app/ipuke-the-drinking-game/id596393583?mt=8
    cat52
  • Reply 20 of 36

    Despite the many scare stories the media presents – many potentially based on bias big-Tobacco or big-Pharma funded US research – vaping is without question significantly less harmful than smoking

    That isn’t without question at all. My links above and others you can find are making the case that the long term heart disease issues are the same, possibly worse. 

    “A study by researchers at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedar-Sinai in Los Angeles found that vaping can be more harmful to the heart than tobacco. [...] [Be] very careful and not to fall for the promises that e-cigarette producers make suggesting that e-cigarettes are healthy alternatives to cigarette smoking because we're just learning now that e-cigarettes might actually be just as harmful as tobacco cigarettes or even more harmful."

    This is a topic-rated cardiologists group, #3 rated in the nation. Not funded by tobacco companies, lol, who btw are buying up vape companies. 

    https://www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/heart.html

    ....anyway yes I agree that using science and research should be the basis of govt policy. But the pipe dream of ecigs being healthy alternatives to traditional smoking is not looking good. 

    Back to Apple — do they allow tobacco apps? I really don’t know. 
    Thank you for posting this: We need to welcome all research that allows us to better understand the real risks associated with vaping as an emerging technology and I look forward to seeing the peer-review following its presentation, although I note that it appears to have contradictory results compared to a VESUVIUS study also undertaken this year at Dundee University; this project has been on going on 2017 afaik: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7690361/Vaping-better-heart-tobacco-scientists-prove.html (I was looking for their earlier study that is often referenced by PHE and the British Heart Foundation, but found this press release about updated work, full report not yet published).

    The point is that we’re talking about the unknown long-term effects of vaping that demands further research and discussion; This is the ‘5%’ that’s left from being at least 95% less harmful that smoking tobacco.  Anyone who describes vaping as ‘healthy’ is not understanding the context of the harm-reduction message.

    Vaping is without question less harmful than smoking.  There is also without question some risk to vaping which needs to be quantified, as your study into one health aspect suggests and why people who have never smoked shouldn’t vape.  But the health effects of tobacco are well known, including killing up to half the people who regularly use it.  The number of adverse health effects tobacco smoking contributes to is too long to list here...  I’m not trying to be confrontational, but to suggest that vaping can hold a candle to that level of pathology, particularly with the amount of research scrutiny that the vaping category is under with little evidence being produced to support the claim, is the pipe-dream.

    As I said in my first post, I understand Apple’s dilemma - I believe they don’t allow tobacco orientated apps in the Store either, so I can see the case for excluding those related to vaping as well, particularly in the current climate of controversy in the States.  But I again fall back on the advice presented by the PHE in their Vaping in England report, that careful consideration must be given to actions that may create barriers, discourage or otherwise prevent people from switching from smoking tobacco to vaping... The potential positive impact for public health could be comparable to the invention of running water and inside plumbing!

    Edit: Spelling and Grammar 
    edited November 2019 tenthousandthings
Sign In or Register to comment.