Like many of you, I use my iPhone every day. But right now I want to throw it in the garbage. That’s because Apple has declared war on cigar smokers. The company, one of the biggest in the world, has removed Cigar Aficionado’s Where to Smoke app from its store, and says that apps about cigars are no longer allowed in its shop.
I’m sure you know about Where to Smoke, but allow me to describe it. We launched it in 2015, and it has always been a free service, pointing cigar aficionados to more than 2,600 cigar shops, cigar bars and other venues that welcome a cigar—a needed resource in a world where fewer and fewer places allow you to enjoy a fine cigar.
Our editorial staff dedicated an enormous amount of work to vetting all of the locations that exist in the database, calling on each one to ensure that they met our standards. Our developers worked for months to take all that information and turn it into a beautiful, functional app to guide cigar smokers to their destinations. The places we highlight are for adults only, and the app doesn’t sell cigars.
Yet Apple, one of the biggest companies in the world, claimed Where To Smoke was in violation of its policy. I fought—I fought damn hard—but my complaints fell on deaf ears. Look at the last email I received before the app was shut down for good on October 30:
“We continue to find that your app promotes the use of tobacco or nicotine-related paraphernalia, including but not limited to cigars, cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, or e-cigarettes, which is not permitted on the App Store."
This move is an outrage, and what makes it even more despicable is the fact that our app is gone from the Apple’s App Store yet apps that allow people to buy marijuana remain. Do a search yourself, and you’ll see things like Weedmaps, which is described as “the largest and most comprehensive marijuana directory and discovery resource on the planet,” or Leafly, “the world’s cannabis information resource.”
Are you kidding me? Last I checked, cigars were a legal product, able to be bought by adults in all 50 U.S. states and every country I can think of outside of perhaps North Korea. Marijuana is illegal in half of America and most of the rest of the world.
Now if you have Where to Smoke on your iPhone, you can continue to use it. You will still receive new locations as we update the app, but you won’t be privy to any new designs or bug fixes. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can still download Where to Smoke in the Google Play store for your Android. It’s free.
Also, the service exists right on our website. Simply go to: wts.CigarAficionado.com.
This is David against Goliath, and sadly this time Goliath is the winner. It’s an assault on free speech and capital enterprise. It’s discrimination against cigar smokers—plain and simple.
Apple is not a friend to cigar smokers.