Thirty-five worldwide vaping groups have joined forces to urge Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai not to ban vape-related apps which help adults stay off cigarettes.
The organisations, which represent millions of vapers worldwide, say it is vital that vapers have access to the information and help they need online to ensure they have the best chance to quit smoking.
They have written an open letter to the Google boss after The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids pressure group called on the Internet giant to do exactly the opposite.
The anti-smoking and vaping group called on Google to ban apps “that encourage the purchase or consumption of smoking and vaping in the Google Play store” and also wants all current apps promoting smoking or vaping to be removed.
Apple and Amazon are among other companies who have implemented similar bans, with around 200 vape-related apps disappearing from the Apple Store in November 2019.
In the letter to Mr Pichai, the 35 organisations highlighted that many governmental agencies already encouraged smokers to switch to vaping and called upon Google to “follow the science” when deciding how to act.
The letter said that many of the apps that the Tobacco-Free Kids group wanted to be banned were specifically designed to “help and guide those who wish to find a less risky alternative to smoking.”
Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, one of the 35 organisations behind the call, said:
“Google already showed its ability to protect kids from accessing content not suitable for minors.
“It is clear that they have the technical ability to protect children without depriving adults of information.
“For the good of public health and consumer freedom this anti-vaping crusade needs to stop. The health and wellbeing of millions of people around the world depends on it.”
Michael Landl, WVA
The letter said that “restricting information about the potential of vaping to smokers” would only discourage them from switching to less harmful alternatives such as vaping.