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Medicine Apple

Apple Voiding Smokers' Warranties? 1078

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-what-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away dept.
Mr2001 writes "Consumerist reports that Apple is refusing to work on computers that have been used in smoking households. 'The Apple store called and informed me that due to the computer having been used in a house where there was smoking, [the warranty has been voided] and they refuse to work on the machine "due to health risks of second hand smoke,"' wrote one customer. Another said, 'When I asked for an explanation, she said [the owner of the iMac is] a smoker and it's contaminated with cigarette smoke, which they consider a bio-hazard! I checked my Applecare warranty and it says nothing about not honoring warranties if the owner is a smoker.' Apple claims that honoring the warranty would be an OSHA violation. (Remember when they claimed enabling 802.11n for free would be a Sarbanes-Oxley violation?)"
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Apple Voiding Smokers' Warranties?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:23AM (#30184420)

    ROFL I cant wait to see how Stevo's groupies try to spin Apple out of this nonsense.

  • Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:23AM (#30184422)

    They have an obligation to the customer under the terms of the warranty. They also have an obligation to their employees. They need to honor both, not pick and choose. If they really believe that opening the computer represents a health threat then they need to issue protective clothing and breathing apparatus to their employees. Simple as that. OSHA does not prohibit working with dangerous materials (manufacturing and maintaining computers DOES involve doing so), it just requires proper safety procedures be observed when doing so. The possibility of working with computers that have been exposed to cigarette smoke was not unknown or plausibly considered to be remote at the time when these warranties were issued.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:25AM (#30184448)

    Screwdrivers are legal too, but use one on your Apple and bang goes that warranty

  • by GuerreroDelInterfaz (922857) <El.Guerrero.del.Interfaz@gmail.com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:29AM (#30184484)

    Why did you choose it if you you did not like it?

  • The solution is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xelios (822510) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:31AM (#30184516)
    Gloves and a face mask.
  • Re:Legal vs... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:33AM (#30184540) Homepage

    its because second-hand smoke is bad for the Apple workers

    But there isn't any "second-hand smoke" actually in the computer. There's the residue that you get from smoke, but that's not actually smoke. It's not particularly harmful unless you breath in a big cloud of it, but that's true of any kind of dust. If you're poking about inside dusty equipment, you should be wearing appropriate PPE anyway.

  • Oh man up. I've repaired worse. That kind of damage can happen to any computer near the front door of your house.

  • by sribe (304414) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:42AM (#30184624)

    Remember when they claimed enabling 802.11n for free would be a Sarbanes-Oxley violation?

    Why yes, I do. I also remember that it's a perfectly legitimate (though perhaps conservative) claim as well. And I also remember all the people mocking Apple who clearly had no idea at all how revenue must be accounted for in publicly-held companies. Apparently some of you ignoramuses just do not want to let go...

  • Re:Good for apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by johnlcallaway (165670) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:42AM (#30184630)
    So do car drivers....should we ban them also??? After all, driving a car is a privilege, not a right.

    I was in the hospital not too long ago, cost $70K to fix a broken foot because a car hit my motorcycle.
  • by harmonise (1484057) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:44AM (#30184644)

    Who the hell smokes indoors? That's fucked up.

  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:45AM (#30184660)
    What a bunch of bs .... post the medical findings and I'll listen.

    I have not seen ANY studies that suggest that OCCASIONAL exposure to second hand smoke is a hazard. Yep .. working in a bar 8 hours a day that is filled with smoke is. Living in a house with parents that smoke is. But NOT walking through a cloud of smoke for 5 seconds, or working on a computer.

    Find one that suggests how often somebody has to walk through a cloud of smoke or work on a computer and I'll accept this. Until then .. they can STFU.
  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:48AM (#30184690)

    Customers also have an obligation to themselves to not buy from companies with a history of fucking over customers for the stupidest of reasons.

    No consumer is surprised when they buy a computer running Microsoft Windows, and two weeks later it's infested with malware. They make the purchase knowing that they're getting a sub-par operating system with poor security.

    The same should go for anyone buying Apple products. When you buy an iPod, you should realize that you have no power to change the battery, for instance. When you buy one of their computers, you should realize that you'll probably get screwed on some stupid policy like this smoking-household one.

    If you don't want to get fucked by Apple's policies, deal with a more responsible company.

  • by lawnsprinkler (1012271) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:54AM (#30184768)

    The only thing that had changed in my life compared to the past was the smoke absorbed in the walls and furniture.

    Really? That's the only thing that changed? Did the thought that there might be any number of other invisible toxins in that apartment ever enter your mind or did you just stop at the first one you could pull out of your ass? You also don't think it could be a physical reaction to the stress of moving and having to adjust to an entirely new environment either? It couldn't be anything else? You've managed to discount every other possibility and the most plausible one is "smoking residue"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:55AM (#30184782)

    I am fairly certain that all the "smoking is bad" people are the Jobs following Mactards that are spinning it.

    Hurray for cults.

  • Re:Smokers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @10:58AM (#30184808) Homepage

    Given the kind of nasty tar buildup that you can see in a smokers house or car, this sort of concern should not be all that surprising really.

    You really can't blame an underpaid geek for not wanting to get near that stuff.

  • by Garthok (1361615) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:00AM (#30184826)
    I can understand employees not wanting to touch a yellow or brown mac. I hate working on smokers computers, tar makes a great insulator and does damage components and yet somehow it is your fault that the computer does not work. Neither of the two examples given indicate the amount of tar buildup on the computer, generally if it just smells like a smokers computer, there is no problem, it gets repaired. The only time a computer gets labeled a biohazard is if there is a significant amount of residue on the computer. The first post does sound like tar related damage, which could be considered user abuse(voids warranty).
  • by certain death (947081) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:03AM (#30184856)
    How the fuck does a computer get filled with ash? Were they using it as an ashtray? Working for a living sometimes presents situations that you would prefer to not have to deal with, but does not relieve you of your duties. Quit being a Nancy and do your job.
  • by Kartoffel (30238) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:07AM (#30184892)

    I've seen more computers clogged with cat hair than I've seen clogged with cigarette ash.

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by surferx0 (1206364) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:12AM (#30184934)

    They have an obligation to the customer under the terms of the warranty.

    As someone who works on computers under various manufacturer warranty claims, the terms of the warranty for nearly every company state that it only covers defects in materials or worksmanship and they specifically exclude damage due to misuse or abuse. Meaning if I open up a computer and find piles of ash and other foreign matter inside it, you can bet I'm going to deny the warranty claim, I don't care what brand it is.

    It would be no different if I opened it up and found moisture corrosion inside because you decided this was going to be your bathroom computer. The manufacturer is liable for the quality of their parts and worksmanship, not for you deliberately placing your product in an environment which is damaging to electronics. I don't even know why this specific incident is making the news because we deny warranty claims for this kind of crap every single day.

  • by _LORAX_ (4790) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:12AM (#30184938) Homepage

    Disgusting is not a legal reason to void a legal contract.

  • Re:parent != troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:15AM (#30184958) Journal

    I find cigarette smoking to be pretty repulsive myself, though I do enjoy a good cigar from time to time. I think we've gone too war with the war on smoking though. There are actually municipalities now that are considering banning smoking outdoors. WTF is wrong with that picture?

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:15AM (#30184960)

    Why did you choose it if you you did not like it?

    House, barn, stable and several hectares of land for (relatively) peanuts.

    We have these things, called detergents, also water which can be used to "clean" things. I know that's a novel concept for many smokers. Then we have this other stuff called "paint" which can be put on top of pre-existing walls with a "brush" or "roller" to cover what cannot be "cleaned".

     

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toppavak (943659) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:15AM (#30184964)
    Its a similar situation with warrantied computers that have been vomited or urinated upon, having been to a university where all students who bought a computer received accidental damage coverage, if one of these things were to happen, Lenovo simply replaced the computer and disposed of the "contaminated" one. If Apple is making a stand on the safety of their workers they should honor the warranty and replace the computer.
  • Re:Good for apple (Score:1, Insightful)

    by JasonDT (550477) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:19AM (#30185008) Homepage
    You know what, fuck you... I'm sick and tired of people like you proclaiming things evil and demanding a ban. If you are out in public you assume the risk of being outside where your neat liittle world ends...if you don't like what's happening out in public, stay the fuck inside and leave the rest of us in peace...
  • Re:Good for apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CigarBoB (1501359) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:23AM (#30185046)
    Please tell me this a joke right? Smoking is a personal choice and should be left as that. You wanting to impose HARSH penalties on smokers is nothing more then you wanting to dictate the actions of another person. You even want to impose your will in my private home? What the hell man. What would give you, or anyone else, the right to tell me what I can do in my own home? I choose to smoke cigars and pipes and I will continue to do so even if illegal. They can come and take them when they come for my guns.
  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:25AM (#30185068)
    You thing the inside of the computer is disgusting because of smoking? How about the enormous amount of dust that collects inside a computer? How about all the hair and skin oil that collects inside the keyboard? If I were working with computers, I would not be particularly disturbed by a thin layer of smoke residue on the parts, since the accumulation of filth inside a computer is routine.
  • Re:Good for apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XedLightParticle (1123565) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:34AM (#30185150)
    1200 in the US die every day from smoking related illnesses 135 of these are from passive smoke 115 fatal car accidents happen every day in the US (no mention of how many die in each)

    People die from one or the other, but how much is a life worth?

    Passive smoke and roadkill isn't that different really. Where the real hipocracy is, is when life-time smokers expect expensive treatment to keep them alive for another 5 years.

    As a rake (and smoker) myself, i am already aware of the years (of boring life) I won't get, I need no treatment, i may live 5-10 years shorter, but i enjoyed every single day of what i had. As for the 135 passive smoke deaths, it could be avoided with considerate smokers, just as considerate drivers rarely kill anyone.

    Liberty isn't just about money, guns and cars, it's just as much about what kind of life you wanna lead urself.
  • got balls? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OrangeTide (124937) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:36AM (#30185188) Homepage Journal

    They need to grow some balls. An underpaid janitor gets to clean rotten piss off the bathroom floor everyday.

  • Re:parent != troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:39AM (#30185230)

    To answer your question: nothing

    Because the smoke lingers, and there are other people in the same place... Lots of city streets are narrow, and often devoid of wind meaning that the stench of smoking remains there for quite some time as other people walk by.

    If someone releases anal gases in a public place it's considered rude because it smells bad, tobacco smoke smells bad but is also harmful yet that's considered ok?
    If i walk down the street burning some arbitrary chemicals i'm likely to get arrested, unless those same chemicals are in the form of a tobacco product.

    Smokers are extremely inconsiderate of those around them, they often force them to breathe their toxic fumes and are completely oblivious to the smell (that is, they are so used to it they no longer notice it)... I have been to many places where indoor smoking bans were introduced, and the vast majority of smokers casually discard the filter ends once they've finished smoking, and there are now thousands of places where big piles of them have accumulated in the street. I used to work with someone who would try to smoke in my car without even asking, when i kicked him out and demanded he never do that again he would smoke outside the car whenever we stopped, he would inhale his last from the cigarette, discard it on the floor, get into the car and then exhale, filling the vehicle with the stench.. most disgusting.

    Smoking is also a fire hazard, you don't want people walking around with sources of ignition, many smokers discard the remains while still alight, if these remains come into contact with other trash on the street or in a trashcan there is a strong possibility they will ignite it. Insurance against fire is usually cheaper when there is no smoking permitted in the building.

    If anything, banning smoking indoors has been detrimental, previously as a non smoker you knew where people would be smoking and could easily avoid such places, few people smoked on the streets and the filters were usually left in ashtrays inside of the smoking establishments. Now you can't walk down a busy street without facing someone's second hand smoke, there will be smokers walking around, groups mass smoking in doorways and under any form of shelter when it rains.

    If you want nicotine, there are many of other ways you could acquire it which wouldn't harm those around you, such methods are also going to be far more efficient because most of it won't be floating away from you.

  • Re:Good for apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by McGiraf (196030) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:40AM (#30185242) Homepage

    Yes, hear you. Everytime I go to the States my skin gets all sticky from second hand fat.

    We should have law against fat people, They should pay more taxes , because the occupy more volume, add more wear to the roads when driving, put more shit througth the sewers, have bigger impact on the environement, etc...

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:44AM (#30185296) Homepage Journal

    If you used the machine for a litterbox, or used it outdoors in the rain and the damp weather - both of which may lead to environmentally caused points of failure - I think that is abusing the warranty.

    Please explain which of those is equivalent to smoking while using the computer, and how. The computer is not a litterbox, so there's no reason why it should be covered under warranty if used as such. In addition, the computer's specifications include the allowable humidity range in most cases; if you don't exceed it, there is no grounds for denying you warranty coverage on that basis. Computers do not include specifications for dust, smoke, &c, so there is no grounds for denying warranty coverage on that basis.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:47AM (#30185336)

    Wow, way to exagerate beyond belief. You're also one of those people that coughs when someone outside, 30 feet away, downwind is smoking too, aren't you?

    I don't smoke and I still hate this sort of ridiculous shit.

  • Exactly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by earnest murderer (888716) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:53AM (#30185380)

    Its a reason to exercise the 'replace' option in the 'repair or replace at our discretion' portion of your warranty agreement.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999@noSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:53AM (#30185388)

    It's one of those cumulative cases though, I would assume (whether they are being excessively pernickety or not), that while working on 1 computer coved in tar residue is not so bad, working on 500 might be. Just like visiting a smoke-filled bar just once might not be, but working there every day is...

    I'm sure that, especially in more recent times, the service people at Apple don't have to service more than 1 tar-covered machine per day, but heading this off at the pass is just Apple's way of protecting their employees - it should be stated in the warranty though, or I'm not certain that they can enforce it.

    Pay for someone else (on their own dime) who will service it instead or something if they don;t want their own employees to have to handle it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:54AM (#30185402)

    I smoke indoors. What the hell is it with the anti-smoking sentiment here? I am puffing up a Gauloises now, in my computerroom, with the computercase right next to me. And another. And another. And a laptop. And another.
    Brown oily crud? Sticky clumpy mess?
    My computercases are not a buildup of yucky brown goo. The only way to even get close to that, is to smoke more than a pack a day, in a small room with all doors and windows closed. Meaning you have other problems besides a busted computer.

  • Re:parent != troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HanzoSpam (713251) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:58AM (#30185450)

    Since when is there a right not to be disgusted?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:09PM (#30185554)

    Dear Apple Fanboy, go read Sarbanes-Oxley and a basic (modern) finance text. The concern about recognizing revenue in this case applies to unfinished software sold with claims of functionality that are incomplete. This claim doesn't apply as the primary good was hardware and Apple didn't claim this as a feature of the original product.

    Any accountant, likely even Apple's own accountants, knows the company was full of shit.

  • by westlake (615356) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:10PM (#30185574)

    The outgassing from those computers is worse for your health than cigarette smoke residue, I assure you.
    Ecplain to me why an unsupported argument gets a mod-up to +5, Insightful.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:11PM (#30185584) Homepage Journal

    Either:

    *normal levels of cigarette smoke do not void the warranty

    OR

    *Apple engaged in fraud by not making this clear before the time of sale. This is especially true for extended warranty products.

    Pick one.

  • Re:Legal vs... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by j-turkey (187775) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:12PM (#30185594) Homepage

    its because second-hand smoke is bad for the Apple workers

    But there isn't any "second-hand smoke" actually in the computer. There's the residue that you get from smoke, but that's not actually smoke. It's not particularly harmful unless you breath in a big cloud of it, but that's true of any kind of dust. If you're poking about inside dusty equipment, you should be wearing appropriate PPE anyway.

    Exactly. Tobacco smoke residue is less of a bio-hazard than the keyboard of any computer, which contain all kinds of pathogens from people touching it.

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:12PM (#30185602)
    But the reefer madness and junk science used by the tobacco prohibitionists has convinced people of the lies that second hand smoke is worse than plutonium.

    Second hand smoke is certainly a health hazard.

    But the computers in question aren't emitting smoke (if they were, I don't really think they're fixable), they have a gunky residue.

    Computers are made of all kinds of toxic substances. Just don't lick them, and wear surgical gloves, and you should be okay.

  • Re:parent != troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:18PM (#30185658) Journal

    I fully support banning smoking in bars and restaurants

    I'm not even sure I support those. I really enjoy going out to bars without smoking. It was absolutely disgusting previously. Had take a shower and wash my hair twice when I got home. It also irritated the hell out of my eyes and nose too.

    Despite that, the Libertarian in me has a problem with a private business being told that it can't allow smoking on it's property. Nobody forced me to visit that bar. Nobody forced the employees to work there. If a bar wants to ban smoking on it's own then all the power to them -- I'd vote for them with my wallet -- I just don't see it as something to get Uncle Sam all worked up about though.

    but sidewalk bans are going too far.

    Well, at least we can agree on that :) When is some sanity going to break out over this issue? I can't wait for the nanny-staters to switch targets and start going after the fast food industry. McDonalds made me eat these big macs and now I'm overweight. Why'd the Government allow them to do that? Woe is me.....

  • Then it's fraud (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davidwr (791652) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:19PM (#30185666) Homepage Journal

    About 15-20% of adults smoke. The number for Apple users may be somewhat lower due to the younger and more "chic" demographic.

    In any case, at the time Apple was designing its warranty coverage, it knew smoking by its customer or others in the household or business was not so rare or so offbeat that it would be reasonable to exclude it, nor is it obvious to consumers that smoking is bad for the equipment.

    At the time of the sale, Apple had 3 choices:
    *specifically and prominently state that the warranty is void if the computer is exposed to tobacco smoke
    *plan on honoring the warranty
    *set the stage for a fraud lawsuit

    Since they didn't due the first one, they get to pick from the next two.

  • Re:Two Thumbs UP! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrianRoach (614397) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:33PM (#30185814)

    You might actually have a point ... if they also voided warranties for people who owned pets.

    Or lived in dusty climates. Or where computers were used in places like ... motorcycle shops. Or, any of the myriad of conditions that would have the exact same effect on the computer.

    See, this is yet another example of where the logic of singling out one stupid little thing while ignoring 10 million others somehow makes sense.

    I own dogs and live in a high desert climate ... it requires regular cleaning of the PCs with an air compressor. The fans suck in dog hair like you wouldn't believe, and there's *always* dust here in the summer no matter what you do. I can gauge the "cleaning cycle" by how much the variable speed fans are running in the box (which right now is at "You should really clean me" by the amount of noise coming from the machine)

    I also used to run a motorcycle shop. You should see what those PCs look like after a while, especially the one that's used to run the dynamometer. (Badly running vehicles spit out a lot of soot, not to mention all the other residues from various vapors from cleaning chemicals)

    So ... exclude everything else that could possibly harm the PC, and you have a point. Otherwise, you're picking one little thing out of many simply because the cause has become a socially unacceptable behaviour.

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_B0fh (208483) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:43PM (#30185894) Homepage

    which world is this you live on, where getting drunk is not your own fault, and the subsequent events that happen is also not your fault?

  • by BrianRoach (614397) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:43PM (#30185900)

    Sorry, but as you say, bullshit.

    Unless you're chain smoking 3 packs a day in a small, closed room while exhaling directly into the thing ... not happening.

    I smoked for 20 years, and owned who knows how many computers during that time ... none of them have ever resembled what you describe.

    I now live in a high desert climate and we own two dogs. That requires regular, thorough cleaning or the things will overheat. It also can really reduce the life of the fans. (Same goes for my stereo receiver, and a couple other consumer boxes)

    And as I also posted in another thread, I used to run a motorcycle shop. You should see what those PCs go through, especially the one used to run the dynamometer.

    So ... unless you want to exclude the 10 million other environments that can have a detrimental effect on the PC, you're simply picking one because the cause has become socially unacceptable by a large group of people.

  • Re:parent != troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @12:55PM (#30186016) Journal

    Let me turn that around on you. Nobody forced those people to work in coal mines without proper lung protection. Nobody forced those people to work in asbestos mines without protection. We have laws to protect workers because they are generally not in a position to protect themselves. When you need money, you can't afford to refuse to work in a place that allows smoking. If you think otherwise, that probably means you have never been poor enough to understand.

    Regarding the city streets, that smoke turns into dirty-looking sidewalks from the tar, cigarette butts floating up on the beach and in our streams, and other environmental harm that goes way beyond the immediate harm to people nearby. As far as I'm concerned, if people want to smoke in their own homes, that's okay. As soon as they inflict it on other people, they're crossing a line. People don't choose to be asthmatic, and they don't wear big signs that say "stay away from me if you smoke". I would argue that nobody forced the smokers to smoke around other people, but they do, and often without caring who it offends or even makes sick. And *that* is why people fight back and pass laws about smoking in public places. It's because smokers egregiously abused their rights and harmed others.

  • by the-bobcat (1360969) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:00PM (#30186064)
    If walking through a cloud of 2nd hand smoke isn't a hazard, why does it make me cough ? Is it a sign that I'm fit ? On the topic. I won't exactly blame Apple for this, in my personal experience a laptop coming from a smokers home is generally more dirty, particularly in the fan, where huge lumps of congested hair and dust will generally be thicker on a smokers machine nearly eliminating airflow.
  • Re:Good for apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mikael_j (106439) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:05PM (#30186102)

    So I take it that you don't live in a city then? Because in most cities I can't seem to smell the smoke from peoples' cigarettes unless they're almost rubbing up against me due to all the "healthy" pollution from cars, trucks and other combustion engine-powered vehicles.

    /Mikael

  • Re:Hard to deny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jareth-0205 (525594) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:08PM (#30186122) Homepage

    Of course these are not likely people using their computers for productive things... probably ex-AOLers chatting up people while drinking and smoking. In which case - ??? WTF just get a life already.

    Holy crap, what gives you the right to tell other people how they should live their life? Smoking is a legal pleasure that some people choose to indulge in in their own home. Apple's products should be designed to cope with functioning in a normal home environment, and when they don't that's what the warranty is for. Just because it doesn't happen to affect you or I doesn't make it ok.

    Tobacco smoke is not a good thing for electronics.

    No, but it is often a part of the home.

    Apple didn't claim that their products couldn't run in smokey environments, they claimed it couldn't be repaired because of some health and safety rule, which sounds unlikely to be true given there are simple ways of protecting yourself like gloves and a mask...

  • Really brave... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CountBrass (590228) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:21PM (#30186228)
    ...posting anonymously.

    Grow some balls and put your name to your ranting or STFU.
  • by CountBrass (590228) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:23PM (#30186254)
    ...and told buyers about the limitation on the warranty before they bought the device then sure.

    But it is obvious some buyers of Apple products will be smokers so if they're prepared to take their money then they should ensure they can honour the warranty that's part of the sale.

    It's Apple's problem to solve any health and safety issues.
  • Re:Good for apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by orzetto (545509) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:35PM (#30186376)

    Curious. Marijuana is way less addictive and toxic than cigarettes or alcohol [msn.com], and I am pretty sure that you are not allowed to smoke it at home, in most of the US at least. And last time I checked yes, penalties could be quite harsh, all the way to jail time.

    Now, either you are for legalisation of hash and light drugs, OR you are for a smoking ban (at least to the level of light drugs), OR you have a serious case of doublethink.

    And, just to remind you: no, you are not allowed to do as you please just because it's your home. You cannot beat your wife, raise your army, print money or shoot people, and you cannot do bunches of other things. Actually the only thing that I can think of that would be OK inside your home and illegal outside is walking around naked.

  • by sjames (1099) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:44PM (#30186456) Homepage

    No, there's nothing legitimate about it at all. You just account it as good will or customer service. SOX doesn't care in the slightest about that so long as you're not cooking the books.

    It's amazing how many corporate apologists write off all their crappy behavior as mandated by (fictional interpretation of) law.

  • by Brad Mace (624801) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:46PM (#30186480) Homepage

    I can't say whether this new policy is in line with their warranty, but I don't see how anyone would make a case that it's discriminatory even where smokers are a protected class. They are targeting the smoke itself, not the smokers. If you're a smoker but you don't do it around your computer, or it just happens to be reasonably clean, you're going to be fine. If you don't smoke, but you like to store your computer in your chimney flue, they're still going to refuse to work on it.

    On the other hand, smoke residue is hardly the most dangerous or disgusting thing anyone has had to deal with on the job, and using OSHA as an excuse seems pretty weak. If they just acknowledged that they're going to treat excessive smoke exposure the same way they would excessive heat or humidity, that would seem entirely reasonable.

  • by Caraig (186934) * on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:51PM (#30186534)

    Having worked on smokers' computers, I can say that the only time this would cause a problem for the repair person would be if it was utterly, obnoxiously prevalent in the computer. Normally we couldn't tell if the computer came from a smoker's home. But I've seen a few -- only a very few -- where there was literally ash in the casing. I have no idea how it could have gotten there, either, but there you go, and it *reeked*. Seriously reeked; I think only one other tech could bring himself to work on that computer for more than a few minutes. Once someone brought in a laptop and it was painfully obvious the moment they cracked the lid that they smoked pot; I don't think you could hang around the laptop for long without getting an incidental buzz. For a tech who might be allergic to pot smoke, I don't know if it would cause problems, but it certainly wouldn't be pleasant.

    So, in summation: When the person complains that their computer had it's warranty voided because they're a smoker, I would hazard a guess to say that they were a VERY heavy smoker and the computer was suffused with ash and reeked. This is NOT the computer of an idle, cigarette-now-and-then smoker, but someone who more or less chain smokes while browsing the web. It probably made working in the GR next to impossible.

  • Re:Good for apple (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PPalmgren (1009823) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @01:54PM (#30186572)

    I won't get, I need no treatment, i may live 5-10 years shorter, but i enjoyed every single day of what i had.

    And herein lies the problem. Like 99% of other smokers, you justify your habit with this line. However, when the time actually comes, your line no longer holds ground because your opinion changes once you're in the situation and you get treatment anyways. If someone forced you to sign a paper to no medical treatment for smoking ailments right now for 20 years in the future, I can guarantee you you'd start sweating when you picked up the pen.

    Baseless promises about the future are the same reason the US has a giant deficit and slackers go bankrupt for getting too deep in debt.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @02:01PM (#30186658)

    As a former Genius Bar technician, I can say first-hand how disgusting it is to open up a white computer that's yellowed and stinks of cigarette smoke. They're terribly gross to touch and work on.

    While I can't offer any evidence of it actually being a health hazard, it's certainly not a pleasant experience.

  • Re:Good for apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlarocco (851450) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @02:03PM (#30186682) Homepage

    Who cares? If he enjoys killing himself with cigarettes, it's his business. He's not hurting anybody but himself.

    Why are some people so obsessed with controlling other people's lives?

  • by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000.yahoo@com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @02:03PM (#30186686)

    Well, third-hand smoke [nytimes.com] is considered by at least some docs to be a direct cancer risk.

    The NYT doesn't say anything about peer reviews of the study though. Now it does list some of the substances that so called third-hand smoke contains but it doesn't mention what vehicle exhaust contains or the poisons that food is sprayed with. Nor does it say anything about the emissions [doe.gov] from the paper industry [edf.org].

    Falcon

  • by John Whitley (6067) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @02:09PM (#30186728) Homepage

    It may be, if it's your employees rallying in complaint with potential backing of legal action. I've had relatives years back have to deal with health issues from smoke in the workplace. This was before the current shift to a predominantly anti-smoking mindset in work environments. This was incredibly stressful for them and took years of pressure from many affected workers to get the problem recognized and to get effective relief in place.

    The outside peanut gallery in these situations is amazingly stupid: this isn't "Apple" making this decision as if it were some single vast entity out of a comic book. In the real world, employees dealing with this likely started to complain, bringing up worker safety concerns and uttering phrases containing "OHSA". Execs at the right levels finally decided to back their employees. The execs may have had other motives, but if it were as simple as not wanting to fix smoke-damaged products, they could just as well argue that these products failed due to the owner's negligence and therefore the warranty was void.

    This is not to say that this claim is or isn't a legally sustainable one, but its genesis is almost certainly not some deliberately sinister plot to a) not fix things or b) give smoking customers a hard time.

  • by AnotherShep (599837) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @02:22PM (#30186856)
    I think the people who have never seen the damage a heavy smoker does to a computer just need to shut the fuck up.
  • by Silentknyght (1042778) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @02:38PM (#30187012)

    It may be more of a danger to children, but to dismiss an environment that is coated with poison dust as harmless without further study is absurd.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-third-hand-smoke [scientificamerican.com]

    First, let's change the rhetoric to "chemicals" instead of the FUD "poison." Virtually the same chemicals exist in wood smoke that exist in cigarette smoke--unsurprising since they're both combustion byproducts of plant matter. If you want some pretty reliable numbers on amounts resulting from combustion, I refer you to the EPA's AP-42 for wood combustion (scroll down to Ch. 1.6). Pretty much every scary-sounding chemical in cigarette smoke is also in your friendly campfire. Dioxins, arsenic, mercury, lead, etc. [epa.gov] The difference is people actively breathe in the smoke from a cigarette, which leads me to...

    Second, how a chemical enters your body and in what quantities is equally important. Just as you haven't died from your first exposure to a campfire, so too will you not die from incidental exposure to cigarette residue. Inhalation and injection are efficient ways to get chemicals into your body, but absorption through undamaged skin is pretty damn inefficient for most.

    All this to say that "third hand smoke" is a FUD buzzword. It's nothing more than the microscopic particulate traces (i.e. ash) containing the same compounds you'd find from standing near a campfire. Back to the topic at hand--that incidental exposure to a surface stained by cigarette smoke is unlikely to cause anything other than personal discomfort as long as you wash your hand afterwards.

  • Liberty 101: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Saturday November 21, 2009 @02:51PM (#30187112) Homepage Journal

    Try walking 20 miles to work when it's zero degrees farenheit outside. The privilege aspect is just BS so government can screw with you. If you need it to be able function in society to it's standards then it's not a privilege, it's required. They can call it a privilege when I'm not paying for it, until then it's like everything else I pay for, mine to decide.

    Well... actually, no.

    It's a privilege that the community (in the guise of government) can (and has legitimate interest to) regulate as long as you're driving on roads the community pays for and maintains. You, as a community member, probably have some input to the process, but in a healthy community, that input will be scaled to an appropriate, and fairly minor, fraction. Ideally, this would be proportionate to the amount you contribute to cost and maintainance.

    OTOH, If you drive 20 miles to work on your own privately owned and maintained roads, it's a matter of personal freedom. And strangely enough, it's legal in most places without license or other community interference.

  • Re:Good for apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnlcallaway (165670) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @03:08PM (#30187266)
    If I had been in a car, both vehicles would have been close to being totaled because this moron pulled out into traffic that she couldn't see coming because of a line of stopped cars, which she admitted to the police officer. Because I was driving a motorcycle, I was able to react far more quickly than in a car. If I had been in a car, I would have rear ended her at 45 mph and ending up with head and neck injuries that could have cost far more. Because I was on a bike, I was able to veer sharply to the right. I bounced off her rear quarter panel, kept the bike upright, and I coasted to a controlled stop. Total bike bill --- $900. Her car received over $2K worth of damage from my foot peg and foot.

    The cost to society because so many morons drive cars and DON'T PAY ATTENTION is far more disproportionate than their contribution to society, regardless of whether or not motorcycles are involved. The majority of motorcycle crashes are caused by either alcohol (mostly single vehicle crashes that result in the application of Darwin's theory of evolution) or idiots in cars. Motorcycles, and their handicapped twin the scooter, cause far less congestion and road wear due to their smaller size and could reduce the amount spent on road costs every year. They use far less gas (my bike gets 45-50mpg, about what a Prius gets), require fewer resources to make, and are much cheaper. If Congress mandated catalytic converters on bikes, they would generate far less pollution also. But converters get up to around 800F degrees, and it's tough to find a place to put them so that legs don't get burned.

    In other words, you don't know what the fuck you are talking about.
  • Liberty 102: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Saturday November 21, 2009 @03:29PM (#30187428) Homepage Journal

    I have a severe case of asthma

    The question that arises is, to what degree is the rest of society responsible for ensuring that the world is toned down enough so that your defective breathing apparatus is able to cope?

    Society spends a great deal of time, effort, and treasure on things like ramps, braille signs, "there may be peanuts in this" warnings, and even running public schools at a speed that ensure a good deal of the left side of the Gaussian has some sort of chance of coping with the curriculum.

    I think perhaps the right solution here is for you, the defective one, to medicate or perhaps breathe through something that adjusts the air to your unusual needs. Not for us to cleanse the air of microscopic particulates, cat hair, pollen and so forth.

    The idea that society is responsible for making the life of a person with defective parts "the same" as everyone else is very much idealistic, and in the end, impossible anyway. It's your problem; you should have to deal with it. Not everyone else. People are only as equal as they are; and in your case, you're unequal in the "what can I breathe" arena. It boils down to the idea of either removing many interesting things from the air in general, or adjusting your specific intake appropriately. I think the latter is both the most practical solution, as well as the one that addresses the reality of the situation: You're defective. Others are not. You're the one who needs to be making adjustments.

    OTOH, To the degree that public behavior is a direct general health risk to others - which smoking is generally understood to be at this point in time - such public behavior should be restricted to sets of consenting and informed individuals. Smoker's clubs and bars; one's own home (presuming said home only contains consenting and informed individuals); areas where other people are virtually certain not to be affected (out on a lake or ocean, etc.)

  • by Neil Hodges (960909) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @03:46PM (#30187624)

    Check the citations in the Wikipedia article. There's a whole list of them [wikipedia.org].

  • Re:Good for apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @04:39PM (#30188104) Journal

    As for the 135 passive smoke deaths, it could be avoided with considerate smokers...

    I haven't met any. Ever.

    I don't know if you guys realize this, but to those of us who don't smoke, we can really smell it. I mean, really smell it. It's headache inducing if you're just wearing the same clothes that you smoked in yesterday.

    I don't know if it causes physical harm or not that much later, but the smell is overpowering and disgusting, and if you really were considerate, you would go out of your way not to subject us to it. Your coworkers, because they can't avoid you without potentially losing income. And your friends, because you like them, and even though they're willing to put up with it, it's kind of a scumbag move to actually make them put up with it.

  • Re:Good for apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @05:12PM (#30188408)

    1) Smokers pay far more taxes than non-smokers. They are well within their rights to tie up whatever medical resource that they want.

    2) A car pollutes the air far more than a cigarette does. While a smoker might be the cause of secondhand smoke, a driver is the cause of air pollution, low visibility haze, global warming and the eventual death of the planet.

    3) Mind your own business. Is your life so miserable that you have to impose yourself upon someone else's?

  • Re:Good for apple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamesh (87723) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @05:32PM (#30188570)

    Who cares? If he enjoys killing himself with cigarettes, it's his business. He's not hurting anybody but himself.

    That's an oversimplification.

    Smokers have more sick days off of work. When they get sick they often get sicker than non-smokers and take longer to recover. More visits to the doctor and more hospital stays meaning more load on the health system meaning less room for others (although that argument is questionable - the health system will always be underfunded).

    I'd argue that he is hurting others, but I still agree that a smoker has the right to smoke, as long as the rest of us retain the right to complain bitterly about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @05:39PM (#30188628)

    If a car came into a repair shop with the hint of drugs or some other extremely foul odor in the car, no one would not fault the dealer for refusing service. What's the difference?

    I remember when people screamed about no smoking sections in restaurants as being unfair. I think refusing to work on computers that wreak from cigarette smoke is the next logical step. The employees who refused the service should have filed a complaint with osha and then made the issue more viable. No offense but cigarette smoke makes me very sick. I have worked on computers for years. To work on a computer with smoke residue makes me start coughing for at least a week. It is a shame that the owners of the computers were so ill considerate to the employees not to genuinely consider their health risks. Smokers smell worse than people with body odor in my opinion.

    All that being aside I see more problems with computers of people who smoke than than those do not. Computer companies should amend their warranties to reflect that.

    Second hand smoke leads to cancer. Just because someone wants to smoke does not mean i have to put up with it by breathing smokers exhausts fumes left on the items they own. Someone needs a reality check. again: Smokers smell worse than people with body odor in my opinion.

  • Re:yes and no (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ZeRu (1486391) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @05:51PM (#30188752)

    If we're going to start voiding warranties for computers that spent time in households that contributed to component failure, though, smokers aren't really the only place to look (or even necessarily the place to start). Pet-owning households are particularly bad, for example.

    Of course, you can get far worse diseases from touching pet fur than you would from merely looking at ashtrays and yellow cigarette residue, but that would be discrimination against pet owners since they aren't the evil people bent of giving a lung cancer to everyone around them, as smokers are...I mean as anti-tobacco lobby wants you to believe smokers are.

  • Re:Good for apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:53PM (#30189236) Homepage Journal

    Bullshit. Everyone dies, everyone gets sick, everyone visits the hospital. If you actually "talk to people", as you imply, you can and will find that tens of thousands of elderly (keyword: ELDERLY) smokers have been healthy all their lives, and have never been in hospital for anything more than childhood illnesses, childbirth, or maybe an accident. The anti-smoking hysteria simply goes to far, and cretins make idiot claims just like yours. We recently buried a smoker who hadn't even been in hospital for childbirth - when she gave birth, the hospital was a day's ride away! Tobacco had nothing to do with her demise. Diabetes killed her.
    All I can say is, stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Smoking is foolish, but it isn't the new asbestos, or DDT, FFS.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 21, 2009 @06:53PM (#30189240)

    Modern cars are emission-controlled, and, if you don't count CO2 emissions, can actually emit cleaner air than they take in.

    Also, cars offer a degree of utility to society; cigarettes are an unquestionable net negative.

    Any other questions?

  • Re:parent != troll (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rantingkitten (938138) <kitten@nOspAm.mirrorshades.org> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:14PM (#30189372) Homepage
    Regarding the city streets, that smoke turns into dirty-looking sidewalks from the tar, cigarette butts floating up on the beach and in our streams, and other environmental harm that goes way beyond the immediate harm to people nearby.

    A few years ago some dolt made a similar argument to me while I was smoking on an outdoor patio at a restaurant. My reply was "I'm sorry sir, I didn't realise I was ruining the clean, pristine air of downtown Atlanta."

    I realise many people find smoking to be gross, but most seem to be perfectly content sitting in their cars or big honkin' SUVs for hours at a time breathing exhaust during rush hour. They complain loudly if the government dares try to tell factories and power plants to clean their smokestacks and stop belching so much crap into the air. They mock anyone who suggests that cleaning up our act might be a good idea regardless of whether or not it's actually altering the climate. They defend business' right to pollute freely because "the government has no business interfering".

    But god forbid they walk through a cloud of smoke for a few seconds, or even spend an hour in a bar where people are smoking. Then out come the exaggerated coughs and the endless stream of complaints about how they can't breathe and you're trampling their rights and on and on and on.

    If your problem is littering (throwing cigarette butts all over the place) that's an entirely seperate issue. We don't ban soda just because some idiots throw bottles and cans all over the place -- another common site on the streets or beaches or rivers of any major city.

    Your point about occupational hazards is noted but exaggerated. There's a world of difference between some guy in a rural area taking a job as a coal miner because that's pretty much the only game in town, versus a waiter in a restaurant in an urban city where there is no shortage of restaurants, many of which do not allow smoking. The coal miner's options are extremely limited, whereas the waiter can go to any of the other twenty restaurants in a two-block radius if he really has a problem with smoke.
  • by nametaken (610866) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:21PM (#30189446)

    Next, dirty homes, or homes with pets!

  • by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:38PM (#30189588)

    If smoking is as dangerous as they claim it is, people 50+ would be dying from lung problems and other smoking related problems in droves - but they're not.

    In 100 smokers, 17 will die from lung cancer. In 100 non-smokers, 1 will die from lung cancer, often a second-hand smoke victim. About 87% of lung cancer in USA are caused directly by smoking.

    Out of population 300 million in USA, about 11 million will die from lung cancer caused directly by smoking. That's with historically low percentage of smokers in USA, which is now about 22% on average. That's for lung cancer only, where smoking also is a major contributor to other illnesses among which heart attacks and strokes, the numbers of which probably make lung cancer deaths pale in comparison.

    Do the media exaggerate? Compared to what? Swine flu has caused about 4000 deaths in USA and still we see panic-inducing coverage every day. That is exaggerating. Millions of people quietly dying from smoking caused problems is a hard number. The reason you believe people don't die "in droves" from smoking seems to be more a case of wilful ignorance on the subject.

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Saturday November 21, 2009 @07:39PM (#30189596) Journal

    Cat and dog hair don't cause cancer. Smoking does,

    GP was talking about smoking and the non-damage has caused to computers, in his own experience. Computers don't get cancer.

    You lose, strawman.

  • Re:Wash it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Z80xxc! (1111479) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @08:45PM (#30190078)
    Exactly. If you eat an icecream cone above your Mac and it drips all over and melted ice cream gets inside the computer, that's not covered under warranty. If you never dust off your computer and it dies from overheating, I doubt that's covered either. Eating an ice cream cone is legal, as is neglecting to dust your computer. Nevertheless, they're both things which are neglectful and thus should not be covered.
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday November 21, 2009 @11:06PM (#30190842)
    it completely ignores smoking's enormous cost to society. Right now a genius doctor is studying how to cure a completely avoidable form of lung cancer instead of researching a naturally occurring one. Right now food costs more because land is being used to grow tobacco. Right now gas costs more because trucks are burning fuel transporting smokes.

    "But smokers pay taxes" you'll whine. There's a deference between money and resources. Money is an abstract and unlimited concept. Fuel, Land and Doctor's time are not.
  • Re:BZZZT, Wrong! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by babyrat (314371) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @12:23AM (#30191172)

    Your race track analogy isn't exactly accurate when it comes to real life cars and bikes. F1 cars are about as similar to the average commuter as...well they are not very similar at all.

    There have been many head to head races between production bikes and production cars and the bikes generally are much faster however the individual track does play a big role. This is mainly due to the acceleration (there is not a 4 wheeled car under $100K that can match the acceleration of a $10K sports bike) however the handling is quite similar. There is less of a holy sh^t factor approaching a corner on four wheels than on two which make entrance speeds faster for the car.

    As for the linked video, put each vehicle on that track alone and compare times, I think you'd find a much different story.

    As to handling better in an emergency, there are many factors that could make a bike avoid an accident better than a car. They generally have less lateral distance to travel to get around an obstacle, they can get around obstacles in less space (for example around the left side of the car in front without smacking head-on into oncoming traffic). Standard riding training will also teach you to ride in the 'third' of the lane instead of the center to allow both better visibility and easier avoidance should something happen in your lane. You also generally sit higher on a bike than most passenger cars and have no blind spots.

  • I call bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by anw (42556) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @12:40AM (#30191244)

    This is A-Grade bullshit. I have been a chain smoker for five years. You could probably tarmac a small freeway from all the crap that has fallen into my keyboard. But there is no tar whatsoever on my heatsinks or fans. I just cleaned them last week ( after five years ) and there is dust, yes, but no tar.

    The most disgusting computer I ever saw was one kept in a screen-printing factory with a concrete floor. Grey dust 2mm thick over the whole motherboard. Can people refuse warranty service on computers because they don't like your carpet?

    Take your anti-smoking FUD and stick it somewhere else.

  • Re:Wash it (Score:2, Insightful)

    by atamido (1020905) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @12:44AM (#30191272)

    I can confirm the GP's experiences. I have seen this and the result is somewhat similar to the residue left by a burning building, although I think that the tar is stickier. The amount of smoke and ventilation may have affected how much was deposited for you.

  • by Tom (822) on Sunday November 22, 2009 @04:57AM (#30192126) Homepage Journal

    Welding is also legal, but if you applied a welding torch to your PC, I'm quite certain that your manufacturer declare the warranty void.

    On the other hand, threatening to kill the president is apparently illegal (at least in the US, and if it isn't, just hang in there, that's not the point). But if you sent such a mail with your computer, and later turned it in for repairs because something broke, I'm sure they wouldn't say it's not under warrenty.

    So, both angles tested, we arrive at the conclusing that it has nothing whatsoever to do with the legality of whatever it is you do with or around your computer.

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