Apple said it is constantly evaluating its apps and consults latest evidence to determine risks to users’ health and wellbeing.
The STar/File
Apple bans vaping apps
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Amid concerns over the health impact of electronic cigarettes or vapes, technology giant Apple has taken down mobile applications related to the product on its App Store.

“Apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store,” read the update on the App Store guidelines released this week.

“Apps that encourage minors to consume any of these substances will be rejected. Facilitating the sale of marijuana, tobacco, or controlled substances (except for licensed pharmacies) isn’t allowed,” it added.

The App Store is the digital distribution platform for mobile applications compatible with Apple’s iOS operating system, which is used by its products such as iPhones, iPads and Macbooks.

“Recently, experts ranging from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 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 said in a statement released on Axios, the American news website that first broke the story.

“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 (Friday), these apps are no longer available to download,” it added.

Apple said it is constantly evaluating its apps and consults latest evidence to determine risks to users’ health and wellbeing.

Some 181 apps have been taken down from the App Store, according to reports.

These include those that allow users to control some features of e-cigarettes, as well as those that provide vaping-related news and information.

The takedown happened amid reports of vaping-related deaths in some countries, including the United States.

Also on Friday, the Department of Health (DOH) reported the first case of a vaping-related illness in the Philippines which occurred in Central Visayas.

According to an official release on the DOH website, the patient, a 16-year-old girl “met the case criteria for EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury) based on the guidelines of the US Centers for Disease Control.”

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said they will coordinate with the DOH to discuss ways on how to discourage minors from using the product.

In August, the Department of Education (DepEd) had already issued a memorandum prohibiting the use of e-cigarettes in schools nationwide.

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