Apple will remove vaping, e-cig apps from App Store

As deaths related to e-cigarettes increase, Apple is taking a stand.

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Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
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Apple is removing vaping and e-cigarette apps from its iOS App Store. Seen here is the popular Juul e-cigarette.

Axel Heimken/dpa/Getty Images

Apple has taken a stand against vaping. As deaths and injuries related to the smoking products continue to be reported around the country, on Friday, the iPhone -maker is removing all apps designed to promote vaping and e-cigarettes from its App Store. 

First reported by Axios, the move comes as deaths and injuries related to vaping continue to grow. The Center for Disease Control says that as of Nov. 13 there have been 42 deaths and over 2,100 cases "of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to CDC from 49 states (all except Alaska), the District of Columbia, and two US territories (Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands)."

"We take great care to curate the App Store as a trusted place for customers, particularly youth, to download apps," an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. "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," Apple says. 

"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."

Read more: CDC may have found a cause for vaping deaths

Apple stopped approving vaping-related apps in June, though there are 181 vaping related apps on the App Store. While Apple is removing those apps from its marketplace, as with other apps that have been taken off the App Store those who have already downloaded a vaping app will be able to keep using it. 

In a statement, the American Heart Association supported Apple's stance. 

"We are grateful that Apple is joining with us and others on this historic day to stand against big Vape and their lies by removing all vaping apps in the App store," said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. "Our hope is that others will follow our lead and follow with their own powerful message that nicotine and nicotine addiction caused by e-cigarette use are leaving thousands sick and dying across the globe."

Searches for "e-cig" Friday morning still showed a few apps designed for use with e-cigarettes and vapes, although a number of apps that came up when searching for "vape" were ones designed to help users quit smoking and vaping.