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January 27, 2017
2 min to read

Apple disses millions of vapers

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Jim McDonald

Does Apple no longer want the business of millions of vapers around the world? It seems that the world’s foremost technology company can’t distinguish between smoking and nicotine use.

Planet of the Vapes (POTV), a British vaping site that also hosts a well-known forum, was just notified that Apple wouldn’t allow an update of its three-year-old iOS forum app. They were told Apple will accept no updates for existing apps and no new apps that contain nicotine-related content.

After submitting the update in November, POTV received a notice two days ago that stated, “We found that your app facilitates the sale or promotes the use of tobacco or nicotine-related paraphernalia, including but not limited to cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, and/or e-cigarettes, which is not permitted on the App Store.”

POTV wrote Apple, explaining the difference between smoking and vaping, and got a response by phone from the app review team, during which they were told that “due to a recent change in policy any apps that contain content relating to nicotine and tobacco, including e-cigarettes and vaping would not be allowed.”

"“We are not accepting any tobacco or nicotine content at all now.”"


After asking for a confirmation from a higher-up, they received another phone call, during which the earlier information was confirmed. An employee named Erica told POTV, “Yes, this is a change in policy. From time to time policies do change. In the past this was fine but we are not accepting any tobacco or nicotine content at all now. This will be for new and updated apps.”

Neither of the Apple employees would explain the reasoning behind the policy change. The concerted anti-vaping campaign conducted by American tobacco control and public health is the likely reason, along with the FDA deeming regulations that classified e-cigarettes as tobacco products.

Apple may regret annoying millions of vapers. Surely among the 10 million or so in the U.S. — and several times that many around the world — are many, many iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. I know that when my contract is up, I’ll be looking into alternatives to an iPhone.

What about you? Would you switch platforms because of Apple’s virtual vape ban?

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Jim McDonald

Vaping since: 12 years

Favorite products:

Favorite flavors: RY4-style tobaccos, fruits

Expertise in: Political and legal challenges, tobacco control haters, moral panics

Jim McDonald

Smokers created vaping without help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and I believe vapers have the right to continue innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I’m a member of the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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