No Smoking For Mac Users
Article by George Norman
On 27 Nov 2009
If you care about your health and general wellbeing, you will know that you have to eat right, get enough sleep, workout and stay hydrated. You will also know that you should not smoke. The smoking part applies to everyone; it doubly applies to Mac users. What does smoking and Macs have in common? If you smoke near your Mac, tar will set on its components. Take it in for repairs and Apple may void the AppleCare warranty.

This is precisely what happened to two Mac users: Derek, owner of a black MacBook, and Ruth, owner of an iMac (actually her son’s iMac). Their AppleCare warranties were voided due to secondhand smoke. They appealed the case, but Apple would not budge.


Derek took his mid 2007 black MacBook to an Apple Store because the device was overheating. He figured the fan wasn’t working properly, which would have been an easy fix. The Apple Store took in the MacBook under Derek’s AppleCare plan. A few days later they called him back to tell him that due to “health risks of second hand smoke” they wouldn’t work on the device. They told him that the MacBook had been used in a smoking environment and this voided the warranty. Derek contacted Job’s office about this, but to no avail. He finally decided to disassemble his MacBook and clean it (using a can of compressed air).

The same thing happened to Ruth when her son’s iMac simply stopped working one day. Her son took it in for repairs. The guys at the repair shop told him it would be ready in 2 to 3 days. After 5 days, Ruth calls the repair shop and they tell her the computer can’t be worked on because it’s contaminated with cigarette smoke and they consider this a bio-hazard.

"The AppleCare representative said they defer to the technician and my son's computer cannot be fixed at any Apple Service Center due to being listed a bio-hazard. This computer cost approx. $3,000, with the extended warranty,” said Ruth for The Consumerist. “I'm all for destroying cigarettes and putting big tobacco out of business (yes, I'm a reformed smoker), but to label a computer a biohazard because one is a smoker is going a bit too far in regulating who can have the warranty they purchased honored. Shouldn't there be some disclaimer stating that they won't honor warranties from smokers?”

Ruth took her plight to Steve Job’s office, but again, Apple would not budge. Job’s office told her that nicotine is on OSHA’s list of hazardous substances and that Apple employees will not work on something that has been deemed hazardous. Ruth pointed out that these other items are on the OSHA list as well: “calcium carbonate (found in calcium tablets), isopropyl alcohol (used to clean wounds), chlorine (used in swimming pools), hydrogen peroxide (also used to clean wounds), sucrose (a sugar), talc (as in powder)”

Tags: Apple, Mac, AppleCare, Warranty, Smoking, Nicotine
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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