Apple is removing all vaping-related apps from its App Store on Friday, Axios reports.
The move comes after numerous reports of lung injuries associated with e-cigarettes, which has affected thousands in the U.S. and has resulted in 42 deaths, according to CDC.
While Apple hasn’t allowed sale of vape cartridges directly from its apps, the app store contains numerous vaping-related apps — 181 in total, Apple confirmed to Mashable.
An Apple spokesperson confirmed the apps were removed on Friday.
“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,” the spokesperson told Mashable. “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.”
I’ve searched for several vaping-related apps which were previously available in Apple’s store and can confirm they’re no longer available as of this writing. However, I was still able to use one such app, and Apple confirmed to me that this is intentional, and that apps won’t be wiped from devices.
There’s no word on when the vaping apps might return to the App Store.
Apple has also updated its App Store review guidelines. Its text now states that “apps that encourage consumption of tobacco and vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol are not permitted on the App Store.”
The vaping illness outbreak is thought to be linked primarily to products that contain THC, particularly those from the black market, but there’s no definitive conclusion to the investigation yet, which is why CDC recommends staying away from all vaping products for the time being.
Update: Nov. 15, 2019, 9:34 a.m. ET: This story was updated to include Apple’s statement.