Apple has purged its App Store of 181 vaping apps, citing a rash of recent reports about vaping-related injuries and deaths.
As of Friday, vaping-related apps will no longer be allowed on the service,App Store review guidelinenow prohibits apps encouraging “Consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol,” apps that encourage the use of those substances by minors, and any apps that facilitate “the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies ). ”
Apple said it has not approved any new vaping apps for inclusion in the App Store since June after it added vape products to a list of things that are barred from being promoted through the service. While Apple said it has never allowed vape cartridges to be sold through the App Store, the apps available for download included things like store apps, games, news, social media, and apps that allow a user to control settings on their vaping devices.
A number of prominent vape companies have apps that were previously available in the Apple App Store. Cannabis vape-maker Pax, for example,has an appfor controlling vapor and flavor output, temperature, locking the device, and firmware updates. That app has been scrubbed from the service. Juul, meanwhile,has an appfor itsJuul C1device available in Canada. That app is exclusively available on Android, butjoblistingsappeared to indicate the company was exploring an iOS app.
A Pax spokesperson said in a statement to Gizmodo that the company is “very concerned and disappointed that Apple has made the decision to remove our app from its store, ”adding that its app allowed millions of users in the 34 states where cannabis is, to one degree or another, legal, “to ensure dose control and correct temperature of their tested, legally purchased cannabis.”
Federal regulators havefoundthat the vast majority of vaping-related illness and death are linked to black market THC vapes — not e-cigarettes. Pax argues that its app help users avoid dangerous products, not the other way around.
“Additionally, in the wake of the vaping illnesses, our app provides consumers detailed information about what is contained in their product, including results of state-regulated testing and compliance, terpene and cannabinoid profiles, and other information that enables the educated, informed and safe consumption of legal cannabis, ”the Pax spokesperson concluded.
Juul did not immediately return a request for comment.
It’s not clear whether Google will follow suit, and the company did not return our inquiry about its plans. Should it decide to ban these apps, however, it would throw a wrench into at least one of Juul’s ideas for keeping its products out of the hands of kids by requiring anage verification appto unlock them. That would mean it’s back to the drawing board, folks.