Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia found 107 tobacco-friendly apps in a search of the Apple App Store and Android Market.
Some apps allowed users to simulate smoking or collect points for buying Marlboro cigarettes, while others included pictures of global brands or images of cigarettes that could be set as “wallpaper” for the phone. There was also a game where users have to pass a cigarette to on-screen characters, as well as “how to” applications giving advice on using hand-rolled tobacco.
According to the lead researcher, Nasser BinDihm, these apps possibly violate the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which bans advertising and promoting tobacco products in all media.
The research article expressed concern that these apps glamorise smoking among the young.
“Pro-smoking content, including explicit cigarette brand images, is promoted in smartphone apps which are reaching millions of users, including teenagers and children,” it says.