back to article Apple voids warranties over cigarette smoke, users say

A Mac user claims that Apple voided her warranty and refused to repair her machine because it was "contaminated" with cigarette smoke. The claim mirrors a similar report from last year, when another user complained that the Jobsian cult wouldn't service a system due to the "health risks of secondhand smoke." Both complaints …

COMMENTS

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  1. Wrenchy
    Linux

    What's the problem??

    If Apple says they will not service equipment contaminated with cigarette smoke, then STOP SMOKING.

    As one famous prophet once said, "It's not that big of a deal".

  2. gollux
    Grenade

    Visible Tar Layer...

    Should personally be a warranty void and specifically noted in the warranty. Had to work on some systems from a truck dispatch company. The stuff came off on your hands, glued the boards into the sockets and caused all sorts of grief with electrical connections. The best method of handling computer failure was system replacement.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Wouldn't be an issue if it was residue from pot smoke.

    What did you expect from the liberals at Apple? Cigarette smoke residue makes you an outcast. Now, if your Mac contained residue from marijuana smoke, then they'd not only repair it, they'd probably upgrade it for free and put you on a VIP list. Then again, they are headquartered in California. California is desperately trying to outlaw tobacco while at the same time desperately trying to legalize marijuana. Go figure...

  4. Corrine

    WTF?

    not honoring the warranty because they ruined the computer with smoke is one thing, but biohazard?

  5. Steen Hive
    WTF?

    Oh

    For fuck's sake. Someone drown these people.

  6. Shades
    Jobs Horns

    Apple...

    ...are completely losing the plot! I've never know any other high-end tech company with such utter contempt for their customers!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Marek, the "IT guy"

    in a school I know in Poland treats the computer lab as his own personal fiefdom and is always smoking whilst faffing with equipment.

    The computer lab reeks of fag smoke. The kids love it - gives the place a "homely" feel. And the equipment doesn't seem to suffer. Mind you, it's really, really old stuff.

    Marek has incredibly weird teeth and is always laughing and joking in between coughs.

    They could send these Macs to him to fix. He always needs more fag money.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Ridiculous

    This is exactly the sort of thing I'd expect to hear about Apple, and is exactly why my next phone is not going to be a Jesus phone, or anything Jesus-phone-related.

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Boffin

    About Time

    Years ago when Teachers Smoked in Class and I had a Company repairing Apple II, Research Machines and BBC micros the damage from Cigarette Tar was staggering...

    I don't know about "biohazard", but it can certainly be nasty. It's no wonder either that it's a PLUS point in Car and Electronic Gear sales when they say from a "non-smoker" home.

    I have always wondered can the tar vapour or smaller volatile particles get in to the HDD surface via the breathing hole filter? HDDs are absolutely not hermetically sealed.

    Some discussions here: http://discussions.virtualdr.com/archive/index.php/t-178020.html

    (Safety Goggles and mask...)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Funny.

    This about covers my experience with what apple funnily enough calls a "service department" (but my experience wasn't smoke related, just another version of the excuse-not-to-service)

  11. Clint Sharp
    Paris Hilton

    Breaking news..

    crApple refuses to repair machine because owner had sniffles and liked bacon...

    I can understand why an Apple 'tech' would want to reduce the number of machines they worked on though, every spare parts box they have to open presents a significant paper cut risk and those dangerous screwdrivers <folds arms, sucks teeth, frowns, shakes head>

    Paris, easy open box, no paper cut risk.

  12. Neal 5

    Double standards

    Seeing that as recently as last year Apple Macs were found to be emitting Benzene when powered up. (Incidently included on the OHSA list).

    Maybe Apple would like to offer everyone that has one of those Macs, free healthcare instead. I'm sure it's cheaper to just repair the thing and STFU.

    Pots and Kettles.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    A good idea

    More power to Apple, as someone who had to repair smoker's machines in the past let me tell you that their filth traps are right up there in second place for nastiness, first being cat owners whose little darlings peed on the machines...

    It's also true that optical drives are also the first to go from smoking, so why should other AppleCare payers being covering these people's tabs?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Hear! Hear!

    As an anti-smoking fascist myself, I'm with the Church of Jobs on this one. If you're daft enough to smoke next to your PC or laptop (of whatever manufacturer) you shouldn't be surprised if it joins you in a potentially premature death.

    Mine's the one with the funeral service from smoking grandparents in the pocket.

  15. Insane Reindeer
    WTF?

    What is today's date?

    I am sure I have just stepped out of time machine and it is April 1st 2010. Must be. Can't be any other reason for this story, can there?

    I mean really, come on. I have no love for anything from, or associated with, that massive company with the HQ in Cupertino, but even I have have to question the validity of this story...

  16. raving angry loony

    interesting loophole.

    Actually, it's quite possible that cigarette smoke IS a biohazard. Awesome! I wonder if I can use the same excuse to avoid fixing things? Must check out local laws.

  17. Christian Berger Silver badge

    Even though I'm not a fan of Apple's build quality...

    I have to say that smoking next to a computer, especially one with optical drives, cameras or air-intakes, should be avoided at all costs. Those devices just aren't made to be smoked at.

  18. pAnoNymous
    Coat

    good on them

    having worked in various parts of the service/IT industry I say good on apple.

    some items sock up nicotine/tar to so that you get a layer of grease/yellow slime. smokers don't often notice this as it builds up over time but when you put it side by side with a clean item it's pretty disgusting and now we know the dangers of nicotine/tar I don't think people should be forced to come into contact with it - unless appropriately trained/equipped.

    <putting on my hazmat suite here>

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And that includes peanut poppers

    and chocolate chompers. And, Car Drivers. All of those are bad, and potentially lethal health and safety worries.

    Brilliant, I can see it now. And you don't have to put it into the warranty, you just claim it after the fact.

  20. Adam Salisbury
    FAIL

    Marigolds

    Someone should donate Jobs a few pairs of runbber loves and dust masks to his techies, then beat him with a 8 pound fail-stick.

    The Jobsian Jokers get more retarded by the day

  21. CalumX

    Yuk

    I've opened up smokers machines to repair them before, and found everything coated in a layer of tar and ash. If the machine was like that, I wouldnt fix it either!

  22. hughjorganns

    Smoke - Tar inside Macs

    I am an ACMT and work at an AASP. We repair a lot of Macs and have not turned away a smokers Mac yet but I can see why someone would refuse to work on one. Some of the ones that I've seen are covered inside with a layer of tar, to which is stuck a lot of dust. I usually take it outside & use an air canister to blow the worst out but the fans are covered in it & so are reduced in their effectiveness. I am sure that in some circumstances this has caused the failure of the unit and shouldn't be covered by the warranty as the fault has been caused by the customer.

    Biohazard is a bit harsh, but it is like working inside someone's tar covered lungs - vile! It'd make you stop smoking.

  23. Paul 4

    Rubbish...

    Utter rubbish. They are miss reading the rules. Ciggeret smoke is a hazard, as is solder smoke. I think they need to go back and re-read the rules before trading standards gets involved.

  24. itbod

    crikey

    It's a wonder that Apple employees are able to make children...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    See ...

    I've owned dozens of computers over the past 20 years and not one has failed from cigarette smoke, though once I had a few fail simultaneously from a build-up from traffic fume emissions from a busy junction outside the office where huge diesels and buses would fart and belch at the lights.

    The interior of the PC cases were SOLID with gunk in a month.

  26. Corin

    Well...

    Well, the optical drive might well have nicotine all over the lens. However, I don't really blame the apple techs for this; you've seen the dusty computer pictures that were on this site not too long ago!

  27. JC 2
    FAIL

    What The World Is Coming To

    I agree it's sometimes gross, but to refuse to even look at it is the wrong policy, or rather this isn't a policy at all it is some uptight moron who is selecting smokers as their way to rebel against society in that Apple politically-pseudo-correct sort of way.

    Parts like an optical drive, if shown to have failed due to excessive smoke contamination, certainly shouldn't be replaced free. The rest however has to be designed for real-world environments not just a clean-room lab environment but we known this isn't about that, a level 1 tech simply isn't knowledgeable enough yet (nor would it be cost effective) to make that kind of forensic determination.

    It basically boils down to too many whiny brats in the world who feel they deserve attention, failing to recognize that if all parts of their job were roses and gravy, nobody would have to pay them to work. Fire 'em, that's what I'd do... then get on that warranty clause about not covering the hardware replacement cost if deemed to be due to cig smoke contamination - but not a refusal to do the labor or other repairs.

  28. criscros
    Jobs Halo

    well done, apple

    Thanks! This made my day.

    Cigarette smoke is THE most disgusting thing.

  29. Mr Squirrel
    Coffee/keyboard

    Repair or replace

    Surely if it's a biohazard and not safe for someone to repair, they can just replace it?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is this news

    Most warranties don't cover user damage. The company, where I work, charges for spills. We even bag units that come in filled with roaches, contact the customer and charge them for return hazardous shipment charges. We've had electronics sent in with lizard eggs in them (that was pretty cool), all sorts of bugs, marijuana (and other plant) residue, transmission fluid (that one was confusing), a bullet (that one was funny) and even a unit wrapped in uderwear (straight to trash). I wish we'd add cigarette residue as a hazard, even though everyone wears gloves of some sort to touch the product, because cleaning that stuff is a real pain and it isn't safe in that gooey concentrated form.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    One word---c*nts!

    Pretentious fu*kwads! Ok, more than two words, but that just pisses me off and I don't even smoke!

    Apparently Apple's product lineup are sensitive souls... I used to work on NCR point-of-sale equipment in restaurant environments. They'd still be grinding along after 10 years when the entire inside of the case was covered with a greasy sludge from the kitchen environment. And not a fan still working. Made me wonder what the health cost of working in that environment was.

  32. Ben Tasker Silver badge

    Split Society

    We're slowly becoming a split society where smokers are being viewed with more and more disapproval.

    Nicotine probably is on the OSHA's list as it's a powerful pesticide, but I wouldn't have thought a computer owned by even the heaviest smoker would contain it at hazardous levels (though it does seem to build up quite a lot!)

    Does beg the question, why do people smoke inside? I go outside even at home, stale smoke is not a nice smell, even to a smoker!

  33. b166er

    Presumably

    Apple are quite happy to turn a blind eye from the likely extremely bio-hazardous enviroments the staff who make the overpriced hardware they sell have to work in though?

    Wonder if this applies to iPods and iPhones too? I see a hole being dug here. Either they alienate a large percentage of their customers or on the strength of this, face lawsuits from their staff when they about face.

  34. Bob 18
    Jobs Horns

    OMG...

    I'm as anti-smoking as anyone. But... it shouldn't take a genius to understand that while nicotine and tar are hazardous in the AIR, they are not hazardous when caked onto your MacBook case.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Welcome to the world according to Steve.

    What? You didn't realize that when you bought your Apple product that you were now at the mercy of Steve Job's sense of morality. Didn't the iPhone app store censorship give you some inkling that Apple really is a cult and not a corporation?

  36. HooHah!
    Alert

    Biohazard?

    I can see not working on the machine if it's so gummed up with accumulated tars and dust that the machine can't work correctly. Remember that good ventilation is essential to proper (read: cool) operation, especially with laptops.

    The dirtiest machines I've ever worked on were those used in coal mines: black, conductive coal dust all over everything, especially fan intakes and heat sinks. You take them outside to blow and brush as much dist as you can off them. (Which is probably illegal now.) And that's regular semi-annual or quarterly maintenance.

    But biohazard? Feh, someone's using PC as an excuse to duck work, and to duck telling the customer that the customer screwed up.

  37. bex

    smoke not

    the fact is repairing a pc used by a smoker is disgusting , the horrible sticky gunge insise some of the pcs I have come across iis not nice at all.

    Don't smoke and use a computer its as bad for the pc as it is for you

  38. Ryan 7
    Stop

    As a repair monkey at an indie shop

    I have to agree that f***ing your machine with smoke is no different that f***ing your machine with a fall onto a concrete floor.

    It's the customer that broke it, so they should pay to fix it!

    And on the health risk point, I don't have a problem with doing that type of repair, but it is pretty horrible inside a smoker's machine. And it smells.

  39. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Jobs Horns

    But, but, but...

    ...most of Apple's customer base are weed smoking arty types. Surely all their machines are contaminated with illegal substances, not just biohazards. Does Apple repair *anything* under warranty?

    More seriously, if they get away with this, then they will be copied and no manufacturer will have to honour any kind of warranty ever again.

  40. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Just employ smokers..

    They can cope with the stench and the pollution.

    Alternatively, the exposure to what exactly is happening inside their lungs may cause them to stop. Either way a win win..

  41. Pete 2

    Get a smoker to fix it?

    Even if staff aren't allowed to set fire to themselves while at work, I have no doubt that among the massed hordes of Apple service engineers at least one of them smokes. So since that employee is already "contaminated" (and presumably is therefore not allowed to come into contact with any other Apple employees) why not have that person do the servicing work?

    But then they'd have to think up new and even more ludicrous excuses for not doing what they're paid for.

  42. Russ Williams
    Jobs Horns

    Statutory Rights

    The guarantee doesn't affect them, regardless of the screwdriver monkeys' feelings about "gunky" machines.

  43. Bruce Clare
    FAIL

    Hazards of smoke build-up...

    "they are not hazardous when caked onto your MacBook case."

    Uhh, not true. They used to use nicotine as an insecticide in the 19th century.

    As far as Apple service policy about 2nd hand smoke: that's what rubber gloves are for. If the smoke build-up caused the system failure, charge the customer for the repair as user-caused, but there is no logical reason to refuse the service completely.

  44. geekgrrle

    Former PC Tech opinion

    I use to work for a major PC retail store as a technician and I can't tell you how many times I received computers that were malfunctioning because their owners smoked around them.

    They were plain DISGUSTING on the inside with their previous white cases turned yellow and insides coated with a nasty smelling sticky tar. The smell was terrible and strong. The tar would cause fans to stop and acted as insulation, which then caused the system to overheat and parts to malfunction. I often spent more time attempting to clean the pc out then actually performing the work (which the customer should have been billed for). I felt like i should have been wearing a hazmat suit the entire time while working on them.

    I agree with Apple for not performing warranty work on these systems. In my opinion smoking next to your system is just as bad as keeping your system in a damp environment where the insides can rust and corrode (which is also not covered under warranty).

    Point is that people in general should be held responsible for the damage they cause to their equipment regardless what the cause is.

  45. David Hughes
    Thumb Up

    Smoke Residue and Computers

    A few years back I worked at TigerDirect in Raleigh, NC as a repair tech. About 25% of the PCs that came in for service were heavily contaminated with cigarette smoke ... some to the point of the CPU heat-sink being totally block with it. It was very unpleasant to work on them, especially as corporate management wouldn't buy us a vacuum to remove it. They expected us to use a compressor to blow the dust out of cases and heat-sinks! It was really gross and without a doubt unhealthy for the techs - well, at least the ones of us with enough sense not to smoke. I fully support Apple's decision not to work on these machines. Other manufacturers, take note, or you may be faced with a lawsuit from employees.

    Smokers, you do have the right to kill yourself with tobacco, but you do not have the right to inflict the by-products of your addiction on anyone else. Remember, years ago heavy metals and other poisons were used to "cure" certain conditions. Now, we know better. The same is true now of tobacco. I am, and have always been, a citizen of NC, where tobacco has been the major cash crop in the past. That is no longer true. On Jan 1, 2010, it will become illegal to smoke in ANY public place, restaurant, bar or club in NC. This would have been totally unthinkable 20 years ago! No longer. Times change.

  46. talkToTheHat

    Why I quit

    I used to smoke pretty heavily, to the point of chain smoking when some kind of urgent code creation was overdue. My desktop at the time was something of a nightmare to keep cool, and doubled as a fan heater. After the third hard drive died, I stopped keeping the thing on my desk, and opened up the failed drives. They shouldn't have a faint yellow yellow staining. Stopping smoking around my computers massively increased reliability, and the act of going outside served as an RSI break.

    The common student digs practice of smoking in a small room with very little ventilation can coat the inside of a computer in a few months, especially if the air intakes are close to whichever hand one holds a cigarette in.

    I wish I'd got some photos of some of the dust monsters I've found, cigarette tar turns dust bunnies into gooey sticky abominations that are immune to the canned air. Cleaning out this kind of mess is one of the most unpleasant things I've had to do.

    Anyone saying that the inside of one of these machines can't be that bad hasn't had to deal with one, try coating the inside of an already dusty PC with a little coal dust, half a can of repositionable spray-mount, and a bottle of yellow food colouring. Then imagine an all pervasive smell of ashtray whilst you try and fix the damn thing.

    User damage is user damage.

  47. David Hughes
    Paris Hilton

    Smoke Residue In PCs

    "By Pete 2

    Even if staff aren't allowed to set fire to themselves while at work, I have no doubt that among the massed hordes of Apple service engineers at least one of them smokes. "

    Yeah Pete, I'm sure you're right, probably a few of them do still smoke. But I'll bet you any amount of money that they sure as hell don't smoke on, or in, any part of the Apple Corporate facilities or grounds!! I'm also betting that they are, or soon will, pay a hefty premium for indulging in what is absolutely a health-risk type of behavior. Rock climbing is risky, but only if you fall. Smoking is risky because EVERY time you do it, you're putting toxins of all kinds into your body. I watched both of my parents die from it. Why should MY insurance rates go up to cover YOUR lung transplant? "Set fire to themselves?!" None of my places of employment allow that ...

    Paris, for f*ckin' shure, because as we all now know by way of her night-vision video,

    what she likes to smoke, likes to BE smoked! Now that's HOT!

  48. Timothy
    Jobs Halo

    Not an Apple fan but......

    Having also repaired computes for many years, tar buid-up DOES destroy computers over time. Since this is customer abuse of the machine, it should NOT be covered.

    I support Apple completely on this .... I sincerely HOPE that all other manufacturers follow this and not even just computers.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    De-smogifying your laptop

    Get some Ozium and give the laptop a quick spray-down. It will remove that dead cigarette smell pdq. Back in the day (60's and 70's) we used to use it on traffic stops to remove the smell of illegal smoking materials from the car. Works great on tobacco as well! :-)

  50. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Biohazard?

    What are they doing? Licking them?

    Second hand smoke? Are they afraid the batter is going to catch fire while they work on it?

  51. David 45

    Agree

    Quite right, in my opinion, being a life-long abstainer. In previous lives I was a BT telephone engineer and also in the TV trade and, believe you me, your hair would curl if you saw the innards of some of the stuff I had to deal with inside, and from, smokers' premises. Revolting. When phones had interchangeable parts and I came across a smoker's special, I used to change the whole phone, rather than have to handle the thing to change a specific faulty item. I also remember vividly an elderly couple from my TV trade days who both smoked heavily (both no longer with us due to smoking-related diseases) and their whole house had taken on a delicate hue of nicotine yellow. The TV was somewhat lacking in contrast due to the repulsive coating it had acquired on the screen over the years and their lounge carpet crunched when walked on. The ciggie smoke had permeated every nook and cranny of the whole property to an extent that I have never, ever, seen before and, hopefully, will never see again. When I left the house, I had picked up some of the smell and had to go home to shower and change. Yuk!

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bullshit.

    I've had several computers over the years, have always smoked both tobacco and other stuff next to it and have never had anything fail, optical drives or whatever.

    And I burn incense in the same area.

    And I have three cats, two of which are long haired and I've never had anything other than dust in the case.

    The computers that I've had to sort out that are the filthiest are the ones in the same environment as cooking fumes (flats and bedsits). Cooking fat smoke and dust make a nasty substance when mixed.

    A bad precedent if allowed. Any company can then dictate "optimum operating conditions" (a dust, smoke, cooking, human free bubble) and refuse the guarantee if they're not met. Not good.

  53. dr_forrester
    Thumb Up

    Sounds fair

    Why should Apple have to pay to fix a computer which failed due to the environment in which the USER, not Apple, placed it?

    My wife accidentally went swimming (for about 30 sec) with her phone still in her pocket, and that (justly) wasn't under warranty. These Macs were in a toxic environment, with a nasty chemical soup (including, but not limited to, carcinogens and nerve toxins) building up on their interiors. Why SHOULD that be covered at all?

    On a related note, I do think cell phone warranties should not be allowed to exclude dropping from below a certain (1-2m) height, as that's part of a normal environment for a handheld device - every so often, the user will drop it. Admittedly, it would be tough to determine how high it fell from by visual inspection, but they could put G-shock stickers inside the battery compartment like they already have water-sensitive ones which change color when they get wet.

  54. Annihilator
    FAIL

    FFS

    Utter, utter, crap.

    Cigarette smoke is dangerous, yes. 2nd hand smoke, dubiously so, but I'll give them that regardless.

    The crap that ends up in a computer, is no longer smoke. Can Apple not just advise their technical staff to not lick the motherboards? I reckon they'll be safe enough then.

    This is like claiming that a cleaner doesn't have to empty ashtrays, due to 'elf and safety

  55. Pet Peeve
    Flame

    Hello?

    Nicotine is an incredibly powerful poison. Not only has it been used as pesticide (and still is in some parts of the world), but it was a popular "poisoned dagger" weapon coating in the middle ages. It's not just disgusting, it's dangerous to your health. 60 miligrams of the stuff will kill you in seconds.

    If you smoke, fix your own dang computer.

  56. shawnfromnh
    FAIL

    This is Politically Correct crap

    This is just another way of Apple screwing over their users just to seems to be politically correct and save the company money on defective hardware in the process.

    I chain smoked next to my full tower server for 10 years without a problem and I've met people that don't smoke who's computers die without warning constantly. The difference is mine I built myself and theirs were Gateways, Dells, and just basically pieces of crap. Since I KNOW smoking won't kill a good computer with decent hardware the only answer is Apple is moving toward using low quality parts in their manufacture to increase profit margins and are hoping their users don't catch on. Considering that a lot of Apple users seem to be so P.C. they just might be foolish enough to believe it was smoking and not crap low quality hardware that's causing the problem.

    Besides who wants and apple since most games are made for Windows and can be played on Linux using WINE. Hell Apple would be a last resort for a computer unless I was a graphics artist or such but I would only use it while working and not for anything else.

  57. Steve Carr 1
    Headmaster

    Yay for common sense!

    As others have pointed out, the inside of a smokers PC is a hideous thing to behold. My own experience of the effects of long term cigarette smoke on the inside of a PC when relatives have brought their PCs round to be diagnosed has resulted in said relatives being told their PC is unrepairable also!

    Those who smoke themselves are pretty much in denial, I'd say, and are likely on the ones above braying "Bad Apple". I for one support the tech and the techs managers in refusing to suffer the effects of the f*cktards who continue to smoke, in the face of overwhelming evidence of the dangers.

  58. Antidisestablishmentarianist
    Grenade

    @Mr Squirrel

    Smokers smoke by choice yes? So If I shit (by choice) in/on/around my computer and it stops working, Apple should repair or replace it because of that? Yes? No? Didn't think so.

    There is no difference really - both cigarette smoke and shit are excrement from filthy fuckers.

  59. Clive Galway
    Stop

    Apple just admitted to faulty hardware didn't they?

    "She said that the computer is beyond economical repair due to tar from cigarette smoke! She said the hard drive is about to fail..."

    Err, excuse me, but aren't hard drives hermeticaclly sealed? How could a hard drive clog up due to cigarette smoke?

  60. Sampler

    I've had a...

    ...machine in to fix from a chain smoker - think he'd had it eighteen months and the inside was god-awful.

    I used to be against all these whingers that banged on about second-hand smoke, it's not all that bad I thought, until I saw what second hand smoke had done to this poor machine in such a short time - ultimately it was a "replace everything" job as the sticky residue shorted out connections on the mobo and every other part of the machine :(

  61. SimpleUser
    Jobs Halo

    Aaaahhhh

    What a storm in the this (ElReg's) glass of water!

    Be cool guys before you go over the fence, read the warranty statements (always assuming that at least one of you get access to such a devilish document), and, read the article carefully again,

    Quote :

    "I checked my Applecare warranty and it says nothing about not honoring warranties if the owner is a smoker."

    Unquote

    What happened here is that, for reasons unknown, an individual tried to play a silly game, easy to

    detect though.

    Fire the one who created the wrong impression on Apple's (excellent) product support so that

    we all can go to Bed and sleep soundly, as deserved (for most of us anyway).

    Writing this on an Apple Macbook and enjoying my new Poul Winlsow pipe (courtesy of the wife)

    along with fine Virginia tobacco ... it's all relative you know.

  62. Jeremy 2
    Jobs Horns

    Warranty

    If it's not 'economical' to repair it under warranty, presumably they've already ordered the customer(s) a new unit?

  63. Dan 35
    Flame

    Smoking What......?

    and in what?

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now, the REAL biohazard....

    ....blends in far too easily on those white keyboards.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    Clean PCB with brush and IPA?

    You have been breathing/smoking/talking/eating/dribbling while using your fanboi device - these actions render your Warranty Invalid

    Wish it were me...zzzz

  66. dbolander

    Get Real Folks. Nicotine Does Cause Damage.

    AppleCare is not accidental damage insurance. AppleCare states that it will honor service for failures attributed to manufacturing defects. This alone disqualifies repairs being covered by AppleCare. Nicotine creates a tar film on the internal components of computers contributing to their failure, get a tech job and see this for yourself if you're in disbelief.

    Additionally, AppleCare Protection Plan is not marketed as an accidental coverage or even as a warranty. The term warranty requires companies to honor service terms as is. By using the words protection plan, terms and fees can change at any time. If you do not like your AppleCare service you can contact Apple and they will cancel the remaining term of your protection plan and refund you a prorated amount.

    Enough with the tone of entitlement. Read what you're buying into. Accidental insurance, which APP is not, have rarely been profitable for companies or priced reasonably because people can break or damage what they want and get a replacement. This makes no business sense to offer. 

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Look at the numbers...

    This is a story about a couple of machines that Apple repair folk decided not to repair. Just a couple. How many thousands of machines get repaired every week? Having worked as a hardware tech, I know that after a while you just get used to trashed machines and still you work on them. If these machines were so bad that even a hardened repair tech said, "whoa! This thing is nasty" you can only imagine what they were like. Also, if I had gotten call from the Apple exec offices asking why I didn't repair a machine, you had better believe I had a really good reason.

    I do agree though, bio-hazard? Lousy way of stating it.

  68. kevin biswas
    Thumb Up

    Whilst nicotine addicts machines *are* horrible

    And fail faster that they otherwise should, I had a friend who was delighted to pull half a 'teenth (a 'tooth, if you will) in blimlets from a customers keyboard. Any yes, he was cheap-ass enough to smoke it.

  69. ThomH Silver badge

    @ Wrenchy

    Prophets don't use apostrophes.

  70. Starlight
    Go

    If the user smokes

    they have spare cash. They therefore have the money for a new machine.

    I work in a hospital. I don't recall seeing specific exclusions for urine, blood or vomit on warranties. I am quite sure that I would be reasonably refused if I tried to get Dell to fix a PC that a patient had weed on! What's the difference?

  71. Flugal

    Absurd

    Reminds me again not to start buying this company's products.

  72. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Nicotine is a contact poison...

    ....i.e. it goes through your skin. That is why nicotine patches exist.

    In other words, if you repair a smoker's machine, ffs. wear gloves and don't cut yourself on the heat sink. Apple can refuse to touch this crud in the same way as it can refuse a machine liberally sprinkled with arsenic, americium or dioxine. Even the most libertarian customer should be able to agree with THAT.

    >>Err, excuse me, but aren't hard drives hermeticaclly sealed? How could a hard drive clog up due to cigarette smoke?

    No they are not. There is a breathing hole in the cover. Now, we need some photos, if need be, using a microsope...

    Check these out, searching for "smoke":

    http://www.thecomputerwizard.biz/photos.htm

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just so you know

    I've had two chest infections and my doctor informed me that it is in fact directly related to what is in the dust that comes out of people's PC cases. We've always used a vaccum and fans but now face masks are required when cleaning people's systems. Sorry if you don't like me saying so but my health is more important to me than your computer.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Warranty

    If that were to happen over here and the warranty did not state that they would not repair it due to the effects of smoking, a person could force Apple to honour the warranty. Also a warranty has a limit of up to 5 years, not the 1 year you usually see, the price people pay for a Mac you should reasonably expect it to last for 5 years, so Apple *must* repair or replace in that time period.

    Still, its more proof that Apple are "designer" they don't want people that smoke to use their shiny toys now, do they.

  75. Robbie
    Flame

    @ Clive Galway

    Hard drives are not hermetically sealed.

    To add my voice to this debate: in cases where *any* electrical appliance from *any* manufacturer is found to be coated in "tar from cigarette smoke", then no warranty should cover *any* kind of repair. It's simple really.

  76. windywoo

    Burn! Persecute the filthy lepers!

    Just another witch hunt. First banning smoking in pubs now this shite. Apple need to prove that the damage was caused by the smoking and if they can do that they are entitled to say the damage was user inflicted. This biohazard excuse is utter bollocks. If they have ever installed a new processor the risk to them from the paste they use is as great as this.

  77. Sonny Jim
    Dead Vulture

    Don't worry

    That's not the sound of a hard disc failing, it's the sound of Bill Hicks spinning in his grave.

    Although I feel a lot of smoker hate in the comments, I have to agree that if you use a PC in an environment that's not suitable (dusty/humid/smoky/whatever), you can't expect them to honour the warranty.

  78. Law
    Coffee/keyboard

    +1 for not repairing smoke damaged machines...

    ... but Apple should specifically say in their terms something like "while we attempt to repair all machines when possible, if a machine is heavily affected by damaging environments (i.e. heavy smoking, masturbation, etc) then we may refuse repair on the grounds of employee health risks or user inflicted damage"...

    Stained keyboard - for obvious reasons.

  79. jake Silver badge

    @windywoo

    Not lepers. Pariahs. I'll agree on the filthy, though. It ought to be outlawed world-wide.

    I smoked for fourteen years (14 to 28). I quit a couple decades ago. During the time I was a smoker, I didn't realize how bad my clothes, hair, car, and etc. smelled ... I couldn't really smell or taste anything. It took about 4 years to fully get my sense of taste back ... Trust me, smokers, you reek. Even if you "always go outside to smoke, even at home". My cousin always goes outside to smoke. The inside of her house reeks of smoke anyway, and I refuse to ride in her car.

    I stopped working on smoker's computers about a year after I quit smoking, when my sense of smell started coming back ... I agree with Apple on this one.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not to be used in a smoking enviroment?

    So can somone show me exactly where in the warranty for apple products it states the equipment must not be used in a smoking enviroment ?

    As smoking is both legal and an everday occurance, ie normal, then the Apple Mac must be able to function in this kind of enviroment.

    By refusing to repair thier own hardware within the warranty period they are saying that thier hardware will fail in normal ever day use.!

    YOU SHOULD EXPECT THEM TO HONOR THE WARRANTY AS THE MACHINE HAS BEEN USED IN A NORMAL EVERYDAY ENVIROMENT!

    Unless your saying smoking is not legal, normal or widespread?

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bullshit x2

    As others have commented, I too have been Smoking At The Computer for about 15 years (full-time for the last 2-3) and have yet to encounter anything other than dust and dog-hair.

    My optical drives have always been reliable, and a 50/50 alcohol/water mix gets the bits of lung off the VDU. No problem! I also build my own kit, and use quality bits. As I'm also tight-fisted, I use my stuff for years. Can't say much has actually 'failed' in that time. Or got sticky.

    Toxic motherboard sludge? IMO there must also be grease in the air, either from kitchen or traffic fumes or even (yuk!) sweat vapour from the humid body of a Fast Food Fiend!

    Oh, and Apple? What a bunch of wanker's wankers! Again!

  82. ian 22
    Coat

    When I were a lad

    When I started working in IT it was called DP (Data Processing for you youngsters) and Computers were vastly expensive and treated with great respect. They were kept in rooms called Computer Rooms, which were kept chilled and No Smoking was allowed. There was to be No Hooting, No Shooting, No Disputing while Computing!

    I (as an acolyte) learned to cease my filthy habit out of respect to the inanimate monsters with which I communed. Whilst computers may have declined in cost from those dear, departed days, you scum should treat them with the respect they are due. No Smoking While Computing!

    Good on you Apple! Put those filthy users in their place!

    Now where is that pack of fags I had in my anorak?

  83. TwysT_3d
    Thumb Up

    Completely agree with Apple

    As someone that has spent years doing tech repair on PC's, dealing with the guts of a PC that is used by a heavy smoker is one of my most hated tasks. Cables that are covered in a greasy yellow residue, dust that has turned into a foul smelling sludge, etc... Had one PC where I had to go out and buy some latex gloves before I would touch it. Whenever I would recieve a PC like that, I would show the customer the inside of the PC and tell them that there would be extra charges due to the fact that I would have to clean all that muck up. Most sheepishly agreed to the charges.

  84. Adam T

    smokers = ! insurance ?

    Interesting story. I wonder, will this get picked up on by insurance companies everywhere?

    You'd be pretty pissed if you couldn't get insurance or warranty service on any appliance in the home because you smoke. Perhaps they should sue the tobacco companies...

    In 15 years of smoking, I've never seen a smoking-related computer issue. How extreme a smoker was that student??

  85. Tim Bates
    Thumb Up

    Good on em!

    Does the warranty card specifically say they will void it if the user tips water in? How about acid? Or cleaning detergents?

    Simple matter is there are literally millions of substances users could feed into cooling vents and void the warranty. Apple shouldn't be expected to list everything that could cause damage, or the paper coming with the computers would need it's own shipping container.

    I for one welcome Apple's refusal to deal with smoke contaminated computers. They're absolutely disgusting inside.

  86. TeeCee Gold badge
    Jobs Horns

    Something I've long suspected....

    ....now conclusively proved by Apple and some of the commentards here.

    The anti-smoking types are a bunch of overly smug, self satisfied, pompous, sad little fucktards with their heads so far up their arses that they can see their own teeth and absolutely no life whatsoever.

    Congratulations on being oh so holier-than-thou, arsehats.

    Now, if Apple had taken the perfectly reasonable attitude that fag smoke gums up the works and the subsequent failure is your own lookout, I'd be right behind 'em. Claiming some 'elf 'n safety exemption? Death's too fucking good for 'em.......

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Apple Stores

    I have always had problems with both the attitude and competence of the apple store employees. In my experience they will get out of doing any repairs if they think they can.

  88. Adam 38
    Coffee/keyboard

    Health Hazard

    If you have ever tried to repair a smoker's computer you will know that it is most definately a health hazard. I have, and when I turned it on (after it being moved around to get to my place I assume) the fans kicked out LOADS of the tar/dust crap and the room smelled WORSE that if someone had smoked a cigarette in it. As for the machine, there was no fix for it short of replacing the motherboard due to the tar inside.

    If I were Apple I would refuse to repair it a) because it IS a health risk turning on one of these things inside a building and b) because the smoker could have and probably did contribute to the machine's demise. With the proportion of people that smoke and how a story like this has only just come out, you can assume that the specific computer being referred to must have been REALLY bad for them to refuse it.

    People seem to forget that computers are very delicate and sensitive machines and a poor environment (especially dust) can totally screw them up before the end of their normal working life.

  89. deadlockvictim Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    AppleCare Warranty at fault

    If the parts inside the computer failed on account of environmental factors, in this case smoke and tar-deposition, then the owner is responsible and I agree with Apple in principle on this one.

    However, Apple could have been more explicit in their AppleCare policy. Before they go kicking AppleCare warranty holders in the balls, they need to add a clause to the policy stating smoking in front of the computer may destroy it and any smoke-related damage will consequently not be covered as well as stating that their technicians reserve the right to work in a smoke-free environment and that computers whose innards reek of smoke may well be rejected on these grounds.

  90. fajensen Silver badge
    FAIL

    lusers - shoot the lot of them!

    Why are they even bothering showing their weakness by "Appealing to Jobs directly" or whining on some web site, when what actually works is:

    Taking Apple to court, demanding that they either repair or replace their broken product in accordance with the warranty they sold it under and not the one someone made up later.

    In my experience the small claims procedure works wonders with clueless businesses.

    The options for a blatant attempt to get out of a warranty claim like this are pretty much like so:

    They do meet up in court, here they lose the case, the legal fees and the replacement product; they do not meet up, they lose per default and still have to replace the product. Or they cut the crap and just replace the damn thing right away.

    If Apple had *specified* in the conditions of the warranty that (tobacco*)-smoking in the vicinity of a sacred artifact was frowned upon, they might have had a case. But they did not, so they will eat the loss.

    *) One asuumes that if the sacred artifact was covered in cannabis resin, it would be kewl with Apple!

  91. Stuart Elliott
    Thumb Up

    All hail the Jobsian overlords

    As someone who has had the misfortune to have to repair PCs from smokers, I have to say "well done" to Apple for refusing, it is the most disgusting smell and feel I have had the misfortune to purposely deal with, though habitual curry makers PCs are a close second.

  92. Doug Glass
    Go

    Say IT Ain't So !!

    An Apple user with a bad habit? Can't be! This is all just a bad joke since we know SJ's minions are all clean cut and biodegradable to their very core.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Actually Apple is helping?

    The latest i5/i7 Intel gadgets within the iMac run so hot as to burn-off any nicotine residue accrued inside. This generates a 'third-hand' effluvium that will, no doubt cause the smoker to goto iHeaven?? Allegedly, this is not intended, merely that Apple forgot to use the latest Intel Compilers for these chips in SL that runs the latest magnificent desktops? Presumably, Apple will soon be recruiting nurses to cater for warranty, since these people are adept in the biohazards of excreted stuff within bedpans?? When will Gates take this lead even further??

  94. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Only in Yankiland.

    I really want to see them try and get away with this crud outside the US.

    For the record: The dirt from anything you have to work on that is used in a restaurant or similar facility is MUCH worse. Wear gloves, ffs.

  95. A. Lewis
    Jobs Halo

    Interesting to see the opinion divide here.

    It seems to be split between the smokers, and the non-smokers who've had to repair similar computers in the past.

    I think all the salient points have already been made by members of both camps. Personally, as a techie having had to repair yellowing, smoke-gunked internals of PCs that've been sat next to heavy smokers: I'm with apple on this one. A hearty "I ain't touchin' that, fix it yourself" is the best response.

  96. Ian Ferguson
    Jobs Halo

    They should email Steve Jobs himself!

    They'll probably get a prompt and sympathetic response, like "stop smoking. not that big a deal"

  97. Winkypop Silver badge
    Pirate

    Smokers themselves are bio-hazards!

    Smoking is a dying habit.

    Blech!

  98. shaunm
    Headmaster

    T&C..

    If it is not clearly stated in the T&C's that smoking voids the warranty. They have to fix it or replace it end of story. If apple refuse you are well within your rights to take them to court or OFT.

  99. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Pathetic

    So the inside of the pc is 'disgusting', so bloody what ? Your job is to fix it, the machine either can or cannot be fixed, anything else is irrelevant. Bloody pathetic.

  100. Stephane Mabille
    Flame

    Tech support

    Just called God's Angels for a question regarding the regular crash of my Jesus Phone.

    Unfortunately I was having a drink while on the phone... The technician being an highly logical mind asked me what I was drinking... rum... so his logical steps were rum -> Cuba, Cuba -> cigars, or at least that's what I believe. Anyway he asked me to confirm that it was the sound of a lighter he heard earlier (probably during half the pack of cigarette I smoked while on hold -- oops no sorry that was with British Gas). Once he got his confirmation he whispered "sorry, can't talk to you anymore..." and shouted "God hate you, you smokers are all going to Hell" before hanging up.

  101. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Simples

    Did the user cause the damage?

    Is the user will to pay?

    Is it repairable? If not, tell them to buy a new one.

    Got no sympathy with these cancer-stick addicts. They brought it on themselves now they must face the consequences. Maybe it will help them give up their disgusting and repugnant habit.

  102. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Something I've long suspected....

    >the anti-smoking types are a bunch of etc etc etc

    You seem a little irritable, TeeCee. Do you need a cigarette?

  103. Eradicate all BB entrants
    Coat

    Was it free soapbox day in the Daily Mail today?

    Got bored of the anti-smoker posts so jumped to the end .... a few points

    I smoke, right next to my computer, have for years. Guess what, as the unit is built by myself it has the correct level of thermal venting...meaning air passes through. This means that I rarely have dust the case and have never noticed any tar like substance on any component. Compared the venting of my machine to a G5 and I could easily understand why it was full of gunk.

    But for all the non and ex smokers out there, do you keep all particulates away from your machine? I mean all because the worst inside of a case I have seen came from a non smoker. Was a coffee drinker whose cup used to sit in front of the air intake. Do you imagine the wispy white stuff rising from the cup contains just water molecules? No, the conditions on the inside of a pc do not always reflect their surroundings.

    Imagine a pc, running for 5 years, in a lagoon restaurant. Thats right, warm, humid and fat in the air. Care to guess what condition it was in? Perfect, like it had just shipped. While smoking may contribute to damage over time it can never ever be classed as the sole cause.

    Other points I think I should make

    Hard drives fail in non smokers machines

    So do cd drives, cpus, memory, motherboards.....oh my, they all do

    Non smokers machines come in full of crap and gunk

    Patronising ex smokers need lining up against a wall

    When they came for the smokers I did not speak, for I was not a smoker (Although the ex-smokers jumped up and down like cackling hyenas pointing and squeeling their delight)

  104. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Troll

    People want to save Chinese living in industrial waste but it's ok to smoke, right?

    "The anti-smoking types are a bunch of overly smug, self satisfied, pompous, sad little fucktards with their heads so far up their arses that they can see their own teeth and absolutely no life whatsoever."

    Wheezing troll detected.

  105. This post has been deleted by its author

  106. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smokers Fault

    What people don't seem to get here is that the computer failed because of the coating of tar in the machine. If this machine had a mechanical fault that was unrelated to the smoking and apple refused to fix this because the case smelled of smoke that's one thing, but thats not the case, the users actions of smoking near the PC, caused it to fail. If I kept my PC in the kitchen and it got Jam in it, I wouldn't expect it to be repaired under warranty, that's my fault, as would be the smoking.

    Smokers, you have the right to smoke sure, just like I have the right to drink but if I get beer in my machine, thats my fault and i'll take precautions against it, like not drinking at the PC.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    All those people going mental over this..

    ..would do well to remember that when you're buying second hand expensive electronics (eg pro audio gear and the like), it's often mentioned in the ads that it has been used in a smoke-free environment.

    It IS a big deal. If you're stupid enough to smoke in the same room as your electronics, what do you expect? It not just makes it manky and stinky, but screws it up. Go outside to smoke, don't smoke near expensive gear.

    For once, Apple are just following common sense here.

  108. Gannon (J.) Dick
    FAIL

    Only Apple

    Only Apple could make some sort of smug virtue out of the fact that their products are unsuitable for use long term use nearly everywhere on the planet. I'm sure the loss of Government Contracts will not bother AT&T.

  109. Scott 19
    Troll

    I Smoke

    20 a day and love it.

  110. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    This is my post

    Clearly any excuse will do to not service your equipment as they should.

    Unless the guy was using the Mac as a bong, the "layer of bio-hazardous material" couldn't have been all that much.

    More like, Apple repair technician that is a bit wet doesn't want to do work. Apple use it as a reason to duck out of having to uphold an agreement.

    Not surprising though, it is Apple after all.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Flipping tough luck!

    Sounds reasonable to me, what's the problem?

    You buy something, the company warrants you to treat the equipment with reasonable care in order to maintain the warrenty.

    Whingers moaning after they mis-treated something, by subjecting it to unreasonable external atmospheric conditions, ie blowing smoke particles into the unit!

    If you believe your right, then you should be able to sit next to a roaring, smokey fire out in mist and rain, using the kit! Do you still think they would honour the warranty, if it got jam, coridal, larger inside it? Woudl they f**k and rightly so!

    Tough!

  112. SimpleUser
    Pint

    @ Sarah Bee (your reply back to TeeCee)

    I love it ! A case example of insight and deduction.

    In absence of a more appropriate logo/ drink, the next one on me - Champagne that is.

    Let's fill the guy (gal?) a pipe for better fuming.

  113. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Easy Solution

    Why doesn't Apple just print up big signs that say they don't fix smoker's macs and on top of that put it into the warranty? Wouldn't that be the simple thing to do?

    I'm sorry I forgot this is Apple we are talking about and they are preparing literature for these folks advising them that Steve doesn't smoke so they shouldn't.

  114. Steven Jack

    I had no idea

    As a non smoker I had no idea the damage smoking could cause to a PC, while I agree this shouldn't be acceptable, unless there is some warning in the legal stuff, I think Apple should have to pay up. You can't change the terms of the deal once the computer needs repair. It's clear this issue of smoking around your computer has been known for many years so there is no excuse on apple's side no to have a had a disclaimer in the warranty.

  115. Adam 38
    Coffee/keyboard

    @ deadlockvictim

    "However, Apple could have been more explicit in their AppleCare policy. Before they go kicking AppleCare warranty holders in the balls, they need to add a clause to the policy stating smoking in front of the computer may destroy it and any smoke-related damage will consequently not be covered......."

    Do they need to add a clause which says "don't shit on your computer"? What about "don't throw your computer in a river"? What about "don't put an axe through it"? "Don't stick pens in the DVD drive"?

    People need some common sense. I would have thought it was obvious that this highly delicate circuitry will eventually get screwed up from all the abuse it gets.

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    To self-righteous anti-smoking guy #23

    "Why should MY insurance rates go up to cover YOUR lung transplant?"

    You really want to go down this road? No-one has a duty to be optimally healthy.

    When you can't get health insurance because you like to drive an efficient car (far more likely to be injured in a small car than if you were driving an SUV), or you prefer vegetables to meat (probable self-inflicted malnutrition), or you like to exercise (far higher sports injury rate) then I'll get the last cough. I mean laugh.

    Oh, and don't forget to move house the instant you hear of any nearby environmental health issues, like roads or chimneys. You're making a lifestyle choice by your decision to stay.

  117. AndyG_IOM
    Alert

    Good on 'em

    User damage therefore user replace at user cost. As the merekat says......Simples !!!

    oh, and as a non smoking techie i can only echo the comments about smokers filthy gunked up machines. Its a common theme throughout this thread. ANYONE who has opened up a smokers machine is greeted with the same gunk / crap / stained components. Personally i hate it but i still do my best to fix / sort the problems out.

    Whilst i cant agree WHOLELY with Apple's stance to not repair, i agree with repair at 100% user cost. Just coz the user smokes doesnt mean they arent as prone to have the same valuable / sentimental data on their drives as a non smoker.

    C'mon Apple, have a heart... even if its 100% chargable !

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    It's not about pro/anti smoking

    It's about not being a 'tard and smoking around expensive electronics, just as you wouldn't take them in the bath with you.

    People need to stop being self-righteous and get their heads out of their arses. If you must smoke, do so away from the computer- and hey, then it's a screen break too. It has been known for ages that smoke screws electronics up, it's not rocket surgery.

  119. EddieD
    Coat

    Users are revolting.

    In my time I have had to repair some thoroughly disgusting machines, and so, in this case I'm completely on Apple's side.

    Having said that, nicotine not the worst I've seen - caked on, mouldy soup has that crown (it was a MacBook, so maybe it's MacUsers....okay, hand me my coat, and the extinguisher...)

  120. Helldesk Dogsbody
    Boffin

    Hazard my arse!

    Sorry, but in the quantities you would find deposited as residue nicotine is not hazardous. Yes, it can be absorbed through the skin but you'd need a much larger to dose to even give you the light headedness experienced by light/non smokers should they have a cigarette. @PetPeeve, the LD50 for Nicotine is 40 to 60 mg/kg of body weight. Caffeine is significantly more hazardous as the LD50 is only 12 mg/kg but you don't see service being refused because you drank a cup of tea or coffee near the system. You get around 200 mg of caffeine from a double espresso compared to 10 to 15 mg of nicotine from a cigarette. Both are toxins but which would you say was more lethal? On the real world hazard scale nicotine is WAAAY down the list while benzene, something detected being released from Apple systems in the past, is right up near the top yet even that is used on a daily basis as it's one of the constituent chemicals in phenylalanine, commonly found present in artificial sweeteners. As with all toxins it's the quantity that's relevant and in this instance you'd probably be more at risk walking down the street with breathing in all the delightful exhaust fumes.

    Yes, it helps dust adhere to the components but this would be why things known as removable air filters were invented. Yes, smoking is harmful and those of us who indulge should rightly consider others when we do so but please don't overstate the case. I've yet to see hardware failure owing to cigarette smoke but have seen it caused by generic household dust, cat/dog hair, exhaust fumes (much higher particulate level there) and the worst by far was a can of coke.

    This is from the perspective of an ex biochemist, smoking hardware geek. I'll get my anorak on the way out.

  121. CD001

    so there you have it...

    IF you are a smoker - don't buy Apple, build your own PCs instead. Buy a decent case with a "crap filter" in front of the fans and if/when something borks you can just replace it.

    I smoke at my PC and accept that it's not going to do it much good; I've seen the crap that accumulates in the filter in my Lian-Li case - inside the case however there's barely even any dust let alone that funky, brown, tar-laden smokers dust.

    In the last 10 years or so most of the hardware failures I've had could be tracked to something else - StarForce copy protection killing a DVD drive, power-cut during a BIOS flash on the mobo (very bad - before I invested in UPS), manufacturer fault on a Seagate Barracuda (yes, from _that_ batch), faulty power-supply... and so on.

    ... hmmm actually - if it was an Apple rather than a self-build I _might_ not have had most of the faults I have had... maybe.

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Surprised.

    Those that suggest this isn't covered in the T&C's, think again;

    From Apple Care Terms and Conditions:

    "Damage due to accident, abuse, *neglect*, misuse (including faulty installation, repair, or maintenance by anyone other than Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider), unauthorized modification, *improper environment (including lack of proper temperature or humidity)*, *unusual physical or electrical stress or interference*, failure or fluctuation of electrical power, lightning, static electricity, fire, or acts of God;"

    I've highlighted the relevant parts. Now smokers, I feel you pain. I used to smoke too and listening to whiney non or ex-smokers is a bore, but to say that 2nd hand smoke isn't dangerous or that the tar residue isn't due to smoking, or worse still not dangerous is just fucking stupid.

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    What complete and utter bollocks!

    As my career in PC repair and El Reg's recent article on filthy machines shows, technicians can face some pretty horendous sights when delving into the depths of old systems.

    However, to claim that the reidue left from cigarette smoke is a bio-hazard is the most rediculous thing I've heard from Apple in a while.

    Use a pair of gloves and grow a pair of balls!

  124. AndricD
    WTF?

    terms and conditions

    If Apple were refusing to repair the machine because the damage was CAUSED by smoke then all these comments in support would be reasonable. That is NOT the case though.

    They refuused to even attempt a repair or diagnosis of the problem which they are bound by there term to do. It unreasonable for them to - without speific terms in the agreeement - to refuse a machine which has been used within normal use.

    I no longer smoke and find it vile but you cannot just randomly change your agreements without warning or notification.

  125. Cortland Richmond
    Gates Horns

    They need "Goo be Gone!"

    Having had to deal with gummy, stinky coatings of tobacco smoke on used radio equipment, I'm for the workers. Having as a consumer had to deal with uncooperative warranty departments, not to mention incompetent repairs, I'd ask if there WAS 0.1% of the product mass of "a carcinogen pursuant to the Occupational Carcinogens Control Act" ?

    .................................................................................

    [California] LABOR CODE SECTION 6383.

    (a) For the purposes of this chapter, a hazardous substance is present in any mixture or product if it is present in any of the following concentrations:

    [SNIPPED]

    (3) One-tenth of 1 percent of the mixture or product if the hazardous substance in the mixture or product is designated as a carcinogen pursuant to the Occupational Carcinogens Control Act of 1976 (Ch. 2 (commencing with Section 24200), Div. 20, H.& S.C.) or the federal Hazard Communication Standard (29 C.F.R. Sec. 1910.1200).

    ..................................................................................

  126. Mark 91
    FAIL

    Eat it, Apple

    If the tar residue had caused the problem, that'd be one thing. But that's not what they said. If you can show that the smoke congealed the dust into an insulating brick that caused the motherboard to overheat- that's user damage. Document it that way, not some wisp of smoke smell that you call biohazard.

    And yes, I've repaired smokers PC's- It's not that big of a deal. Want some really disgusting news? That "dust" inside is mostly dead, rotting skin cells. The nicotine is reasonably well behaved compared to the dead skin cells that with a bit of jostling or a spritz of canned air goes all over the shop, to be inhaled by the techs.

    Get real. Use a Vac on the dirty machines, do your damned job, and quit whining.

  127. The Jase
    Troll

    @Helldesk Dogsbody

    "the LD50 for Nicotine is 40 to 60 mg/kg of body weight"

    If you are a rat... the LG50 for humans is around 1mg/kg

    http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Nicotine_-_Effects_on_the_body/id/1802467

    As for caffine

    http://www.solarnavigator.net/solar_cola/caffeine.htm

    Ex biochemist you say? Gee, I wonder why?

  128. AF

    @ "Warranties have limit of five years" chap

    "If that were to happen over here and the warranty did not state that they would not repair it due to the effects of smoking, a person could force Apple to honour the warranty. Also a warranty has a limit of up to 5 years, not the 1 year you usually see, the price people pay for a Mac you should reasonably expect it to last for 5 years, so Apple *must* repair or replace in that time period."

    Er, no, not in the Uk at least. Warranties have a limit of however long the company issuing them decides they do - they're not a statutory right, they're an offer by the company. They ARE a legally binding contract, but they're not an obligation, although since most companies do issue a one-year warranty as standard these days, any company not doing so would find themselves shunned by Joe Public.

    So no-one would be able to force Apple to honour a warranty due to smoke damage, especially as the warranty terms are vague enough that they could probably argue their case successfully. You would (probably) also be unable to use the fallback of "Reasonable expectation" in this case either, as although you would reasonably expect an expensive item to last a few years, if it had been treated badly then you're on your own. Again, jamming it full of tar would probably count as treating it badly.

  129. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember

    I remember a wonderful day spent scrubbing the walls of a mental health care ward common room with sugar soap one day to get the nicotine and tar out of them. Fun times. Lazy ass apple technicians.

  130. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 08:19

    You said ... I have always had problems with both the attitude and competence of the apple store employees. In my experience they will get out of doing any repairs if they think they can.

    I've found a wide variation in attitude and competence, particularly at the Genius Bar. Whenever I've managed to persuade them to let me talk to a technician, I've always found them to be really helpful and knowledgeable. But the Genius bar people do really range in competence and attitude (with something of an inverse relationship between those two variables).

  131. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    I've been on apple's side

    Having worked in retail systems repair for many of my early IT years, I've seen some NASTY shit in computer cases. Some so caked with dist and grime fans have not spun in months, some with completely closed off ventalation due to dirt and growths, i've even had one that had a full functional bee hive inside it (and it was STILL RUNNING! came from a farmer's barn).

    One can tell INSTANTLY when a comuter has lived in a smokers home for more than even a week. Even occasional smoking in the vacinity of a computer is bad. The smoke is drawn right into the system, and the tars and other chemicals inside bond to warm surfaces in the computer. I've seem 1 and 2 year old systems thst litterally are mon-color inside, soot and tar covering evenly every part of the computer.

    Cleaning these systems is basically pointless. Every component and connection requires attention as the caustic (and acidic) smoke residues get everywhere, and don't simply brush or blow off. It requires scrubbing, and that action is more likely to cause additional damage to the system than clean it. Computers in humid climates are effected even faster. Optical drives typically go first, followed by cards in slots and power supplies. Once the PS is acting fishy, and having internal shorts, the computer either becomes a fire hazard, or it starts blowing other components.

    Cleaning a machine with smoke "damage" (yes, it;s certainly damage), typically requires replacement of the optical drive, PS, and mainboard, plus all fans. The hard disk is usually the only component that can be preserved.

    I have rejected the waranty status on a dozen or more systems. Just because it smells of smoke and has a little reside is not a big deal (usually we'd just void the "free PC cleaning" parts of the waranty, sometimes also void the optical drive waranty). However, some of these machines, even in single smoker households, especially if they've gone 2 years without a cleaning (read your waranty, most require bi-annual cleanings to maintain the waranty status), if the system looked liek it would take longer to clean than to actually repair, we'd void it.

    MOST of our customers understood, especially when we showed them the clause in the waranty indicating that they could have gotten a free cleaning every 90 days to prevent the issue from becoming a permanant problem. On the plus side, as long as there had not been a previous waranty claim against the machine, we would refund the prorated portion of the waranty no questions asked (and in many cases, that was enough to cover the cost a a CD drive replacement, sometimes more).

  132. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @CD001

    Good on you- at least you appreciate the difference. You know that smoking around electronics hooters it up, accepts the risk, and you don't expect any other poor sod to deal with it- and I'm guessing you'll never try to sell that self-build PC to someone else to discover the horrors lurking within.

    It's totally down to the user, if they want to accept the consequences- that's their right. What isn't on is screwing up stuff by smoking near it/spilling beer in it/whatever and then whining because the manufacturer won't touch it under warranty.

    Also, can't blame a company for wanting to protect themselves from employee lawsuits for exposing people to dangerous substances, check the laws in California some time.

  133. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Law here in the UK

    Within 6 months the burden of proof is on the manufacturers to prove that a fault with a system is due to user damage. After 6 months it is the owners.

    If I was one of the people I would see them in court.

    And to all the anti smoking nutters..... have anice big stinky cloud of cigar smoke in your faces.

  134. John Tuffen
    Grenade

    Could you use any more biased language?

    There's definitely an anti-Apple feel around here these days (and anti-Google too, but let's stick to the point here).

    Do you think you could use some restraint in your reporting? 'Jobsian Cult'?? How about 'Apple' instead?

    I suppose that you're just going for the lowest common denominator audience here (IT workers with a Daily Mail subscription by the looks of things), but the news around here sometimes looks like it's been written by a fourteen year-old geek with serious Apple- (Google-) envy...

  135. Will.
    Thumb Down

    @ Law here in the UK

    If you had read the article you'd have noticed the macbook was 'less than 2 years old'. Doesn't sound like 'less than 6 months old' to me.

  136. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Awfully funny....

    ...coming from a company whose CEO used to drop acid. I wonder what OSHA says about that?

  137. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Tuffen

    There's pretty much a universal anti-everything feeling around here, people just like to notice the anti-stuff that they get butt hurt over.

  138. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What all you wonderful examples of humanity have forgot ...

    Smokers suffer LESS from Altzheimer's (and other degenerative brain disease) than non-smokers. And no, it isn't because they live less longer.

    I've owned dozens of pc's over the past 20 years and none have failed because of smoke inhalation. And oddly, they all have spotless interiors apart from the ones I've had near open windows near busy traffic junctions. Traffic fumes are far more destructive to electronics. So are oily emissions from cooking.

  139. Paul 77
    Linux

    Compromise?

    Perhaps they should have said something like "well, we can't work on this machine, but we can supply you with the spare parts that will be needed in a repair". This assumes that the machine is:

    a) diagnosable by them (i.e. they're not too afraid to touch it)

    b) not damaged by the smoke, and its something within warranty that has failed.

    Just an idea.

    Tux, because if you didn't buy these overpriced toys, it wouldn't be a problem... I wonder if Dell do the same...

  140. Will.
    Grenade

    @What all you wonderful examples of humanity have forgot

    What's the exchange rate between slightly lower risk of Altzheimers and massively increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, brain aneurysm, stroke, etc etc etc...?

  141. Law
    Paris Hilton

    RE: Awfully funny....

    "...coming from a company whose CEO used to drop acid. I wonder what OSHA says about that?"

    I'm assuming it would say don't force your employees to do what you did in your private life... same as any company. He's not forcing his employees to smoke in the office, or banning them from doing it in their own time off premises, I don't get how his taking acid, and a health and safety regulation are related other than jobs works at Apple... ?? It's like claiming that a rule stopping employees from blowing each other openly in the office is somehow wrong because at some point the boss pulled one off in their room??

    To all others - as much as we all giggle when el-reg pushes the idea of an apple cult - the employees there really are just employee's, not slaves, not servants, not mind-washed followers, just workers. Jobs is not some apple god, not emporer of the minions, not some acid-pushing hippy, just a ceo... we all giggle at the cult thing, really, we do, but it really does make me wonder how thick people are in the industry when they actually start believing these jokes, it goes from wonder to dislike when they then begin heckling people with things like iphones, macs, windows, linux, anything googly, and pretty much any device/service that some mindless commentards take a disliking to for some reason or another.

    Shame on you all *hits on nose with paper*

  142. N2 Silver badge

    Smokers

    Often used to get on my tits, no, chest because I suffer from Asthma, when it got banned in pubs I could actually go for a drink without experiencing a coughing fit & all the associated unpleasantness.

    Smokers are of course naturally defensive of their habit, to which I would state, that breathing their smoke is just the same as me pissing in their pint and I for one would rather drink pee over breathing smoke.

    Having cleaned out a few complete shit heaps of PCs used by smokers in the past (Like Apple I no longer touch those contaminated by smoke) I can fully understand the position.

    As stated in previous posts, the tar forms a sticky residue over everything to which any airborne particulate matter adheres. Eventually this build up of crap causes everything to overheat resulting in premature failure of components, fans run out of balance knackering the bearings & in the worst of cases, can cause tracking to occur across circuit boards.

    Of course the smoker will consider premature death entirely reasonable because smokers take death for granted, be it themselves or their Apple Mac.

  143. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Never mind the issue of smoking, there are *important* questions that need to be asked:

    Why do these Apple technicians want to lick the computers in question? Surely they will be wearing gloves on account of the other risky stuff that goes into electronics as a matter of course? Or is that "heat dispersing" paste they trowel all over the CPU chip completely environmentally safe? Could you in fact brush your teeth with it? Are the Applestore techs brushing their teeth with it, and is long-term use of heat-dispersing paste as a dentrifice the root cause of this nitwit paranoia?

    New ad: Hi, I'm a Mac and OH MY GOD IS THAT A NICOTINE STAIN ON YOUR FINGER? ARRGH! KOFFKOFFCHOKE (dies, clutching throat). P.C. takes a drag on cigarette and smiles knowingly at camera. Then clutches chest, grimaces and dies.

  144. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @ Law

    Stop sounding so reasonable and open-minded, you fence-sitting hippy. This ain't a red-topped website for no reason. Get some closed minded one-sided arrogance in ya like everyone else in these comments. Makes for a more interesting internet.

  145. MWilkes
    Jobs Horns

    Wrong approach:

    They should have simply driven up in their Rolls Royce™, and ordered their butler to go on in and have the machine fixed pronto.

    Watch them squirm when you wave MONEY at them.

  146. Barney Carroll
    WTF?

    @Gk.pm (and other techies on the effects of tar on microhardware)

    The notion that optical drives and other bitsy microtech seriously suff from exposure to the tar in cigarette smoke is totally new to me — but now that you mention it, it sounds quite plausible.

    If smoking near the product voids the warranty, this needs to be explicit. I can't imagine if would occur to any tech consumer I know that smoking while using their machine would affect their warranties (disclaimer: I don't know any hardware repair technicians).

    In actual fact though, this is wide of the point. Apple haven't made any provisions for this and aren't attempting to make it into an issue of cost to repair: they're saying that handling an object which has previously been handled by a smoker is a danger to their employees which would violate their constitutional rights as regards the employer-employee relationship.

    Which is a kind of madness that would need a couple of pretty hilarious/horrifying court cases to be posited as falling under 'to be expected'.

  147. Nuno trancoso
    Paris Hilton

    Hmmmm

    Cant really see this picture... 15y fixing PC and i've seen all, from dust layers so thick it was solid to dead rats, from cola spill (yucky...) to pesticide (along w/ former roaches... (laptop FUBAR ofc)), but never tar layers.

    Wonder what the smoking level need to be to build up actual tar layers of gooish icky stuff. Cause from my own boxes, mild smoking wont do it, at worst they build up dust.

    Then again, this god forsaken hellhole i live in might be blessed w/ tar not sticking...

    As for the Macjob, its appaling. Charging for parts+labor+mask+gloves is ok, refusing service isn't. Next on the list, REAL biohazard disposal crews will refuse service because of ... biohazards... This nanny society is going titsup, FAST.

    PH, cause well, they always seem to be up...

  148. Scott 39

    Warranty Violation

    Considering the way cigarette smoke residue coats parts and finds its way in everywhere, I'd think that a heavily contaminated system should constitute a violated warranty -- not because of the health risk but because it is harmful abuse of the system.

    Too many smokers don't realize quite how bad that stuff is. I don't care what you do to your own health, but jeebus. Quit smoking for a year then walk into a smokers house. Its amazing. Maybe tar and smoke residue isn't as damaging as water, but it sure as hell isn't good for electronics.

  149. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Simply put.

    This isn't about people being lazy, or Apple being politically correct, or smokers having rights (you don't you filthy bastards), it's about someones computer not working blatantly *because* of the smoking habit. It's THAT simple! Apple haven't made the warranty VOID, the owner of the computer has. I've notice a couple of you mentioning the OFT. There is fuck all that they can do, seeing as this happened in the US.

  150. Owen Milton

    mild rant

    Just as a sort of personal rant, I can easily see an Apple Tech opening a case, seeing it full of tar and random other substances and saying "It failed due to users neglect". I'd fully agree. No problems.

    That's not what happened though. They involved the whole health and safety thing. Which means the tech didn't even open it, just looked at the tar stains on the outside and said "This is a personal space health hazard, it's classified as toxic waste, so I'm not even going to open the case and say it failed due to tar, 'cause that would expose me to toxic materials! Icky!"

    There is a Big difference between honouring a warranty and saying the device failed due to smoke damage, and simply refusing to even look at it because it was tar covered.

  151. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Flame

    Environ-mental hazards to consumers...

    In breaking news, Apple refuse to repair machines which have been used by 'climate deniers'.

    A spokesman said - "These machines could be used to support thoughts which threaten humanity. This is a crime ..."

  152. Deadlock Victim
    Joke

    Damn Apple...

    I took my Macbook BASE jumping with me last month and the damn thing up and failed. Apple said they wouldn't cover it under warranty.

  153. J 7
    Alert

    fag smoke IS toxic

    As someone who has worked in both computer repair and the manufacture of research chemicals, I for one know that cigarette tar IS toxic/carconogenic and I for one will not touch machines that show any significant degree of contamination with it

    I used to work for Time Computers and they had the same rule: if the machine was deemed a health hazard it did not get fixed. It was sent back to the customer to clean out and remove any nicotine tar traces. Once that was done, then we'd repair it

    its also worth pointing out that fag smoke also is responsible for a lot of system failures: it causes havoc with CD floppy and hard drives, and can short out motherboard sockets. I've also seen many cases where it has caused PSUs to flashover and burn with quite significant fire hazards

    During my chemical career we used to take nicotine tar, and extract chemicals from it and sell the result as a carcinogenic standard. Basically it was used to test how toxic different batches of tobacco were. The stuff we produced had a known toxicity: it was known exactly how quickly an animal population subjected to it would take to develop cancers. (note the time period was days. Not weeks or months or years. Days)

    Tar and residue from smoking is a biohazard and must be treated as such. To do otherwise opens an employer to all kinds of legal problems from a Health and Safety perspective

  154. 4HiMarks
    Boffin

    a good trick

    RE: a popular "poisoned dagger" weapon coating in the middle ages.

    That would be a very good trick since nicotine comes from tobacco, which is native to the New World. The Middle Ages were over by the time of Columbus.

  155. Alexander Graham Bell
    Coffee/keyboard

    Dont knock nicotine

    Its a cool poison, that is absorbed through the skin, so why should a tech risk that , as much as i dislike the jobsian utopia , i hate smokers more

    PS a strong "Tea" made from a ciggy or two is the best organic pesticide for red spider mite but use gloves and do it out side

    mines the keyboard with nicotine stains on !!!!!

  156. JC 2
    WTF?

    Nicotine Is Not A Poison

    ... at the exposure level present by merely touching something with smoke residue on it.

    What these employees did is the equivalent of stating "We can't work on your PC because it has painted parts"... because when the paint was applied there would have been fumes that go against OSHA standards, nevermind that it is dry now and everything around them had some manufacturing process that wouldn't be safe to work in if it weren't contained.

    It is not clear that smoke caused the fault and actually it is not likely. It would be more likely smoke caused dust accumulation at an accelerated rate and ultimately lack of cleaning dust out caused a fault. Proper electrical contacts would become coated with smoke residue but not where they contact each other, I can't even begin to enumerate how many tar covered systems I've seen that besides the other problem unrelated to smoke residue, they worked fine. Certainly buildup from tar can be a problem eventually but it's pretty unlikely within the warranty period for a system even if the person chain-smokes right next to it.

  157. jake Silver badge

    As an ex-smoker ...

    I'm laughing my ass off.

    You idiots actually defending smoking need to get a grip.

    Smoking isn't useful, it has no real purpose, it plays hell with your senses and metabolism, and is even worse for your stamina. It makes you stink (seriously, you reek, even after showering), it causes many major health problems, ultimately it kills you ... and not only that, you couldn't quit smoking, even if you wanted to[1]!

    You are ADDICTED, just as much as any other narcotic addict. The only difference is that tobacco is legal.

    Enjoy feeding your jones, smokers. Just don't try to share it with me.

    During the meanwhile, I'm down to two cups of coffee a day (from 4 pots a day a couple years ago) ... You may now all laugh your asses off at the caffeine addict ... Current goal is to be caffeine-free before the end of 2010 ...

    [1] If you really wanted to quit smoking, you would. I know, I did. The only person you are fooling is yourself. I'll continue working on the coffee thing.

    1. rciafardone
      WTF?

      that is SO NOT the point...

      The point here my friend is not if smoking is good or bad, everyone knows is bad, The point is that if Apple can refuse tech support on such a weak reason as somebody "smoke near the machine" thats a can of worms that nobody wnat to open. Specially US consumers, whats next? Warranty not covering "fishy smell"? The kids owner had the flu? or whatever...

      Apple is way out of line, is they are worried about the hazard of "absorving" nicotine by contact or breathing then USE GLOVES and a FREAKING MASK.

  158. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    @Sarah Bee

    Well spotted. I had one immediately after posting that and it calmed me down immensely.

    I'd give up smoking. Unfortunately every time I consider it I see something from the anti-smoking brigade that winds me up, so I have to have a fag to avoid doing something illegal involving a roomful of rabid non-smokers and a fire axe.

    It's a vicious circle.

  159. magnetik
    Stop

    chill out dammit!

    Wow, a grand total of two people making this claim out of how many tens, nay hundreds of thousands of Macs serviced every year? Could it possibly be that these are extreme cases?

    You lot need to throttle back on your over-reacting.

  160. James R Grinter

    What short memories we have.

    I was sure, by now, I'd have seen a reference to http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/13/ventblockers/page3.html

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Argh!

      That particular ventblocker is just plain nasty. Goodness knows what the smell is like, too..

  161. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Smoke? SMOKE?

    Excuse me, Do you mind if I smoke?

    I don't care if you burn.

    Ahhhh Ha Haa Ha Haaaaaaaaaa

    Kick the smokers out to the gutter where they belong and then wee on their faces.

  162. John PM Chappell
    Flame

    What a load of shit...

    ... mostly from non-smokers and the ever zealous ‘reformed’ smokers channeling their guilt and self-loathing into hatred of others. First of all, nicotine is not tar and to all intents and purposes isn't even present in the tar (we wouldn't bother smoking otherwise as the point is to breathe the smoke, extract the nicotine and exhale most of the rest). Secondly, the ash is a much bigger issue for computers and you have to smoke very heavily, very close to it and over extended periods to deposit significant amounts of it in the machine or else the machine has to be practically wind-tunnel like in its draw strength with a very cluttered interior or crap exhausting. Thirdly, the ash and assorted other rubbish is just the same as dust (more toxic, maybe even mildly radioactive if you have sensitive enough equipment but otherwise...) and the problems that occur with dust also occur with dust that is partly or mostly tobacco ash, I.E. this is absolutely routine.

    I get that smoking smells horrible (it does to me, too and I smoke - hence I smoke outside and very occasionally in my car / van but always with the window full down and the fans on high to blow it clear of the interior) but you idiots are vastly overstating your case and aye, I have serviced many, many PCs including one belonging to an old mentor of mine who use to smoke unfiltered ‘Senior Service’ cigarettes at the rate of forty to sixty a day, and spent most of his day coding at the machine; the exterior was badly stained, there was about half an inch of ash and dust on surfaces that were horizontal when the PC was used and the fans were badly worn from pushing the extra weight around when spinning but there was no ‘gooey tar build up’ (get real folks, that doesn't come from cigarette smoke, it'll be vapourized fat or sugar) and some gentle directed air took it all off the board while a simple vaccum cleaner (remember those?) cleaned the case out. I didn't clean the exterior up, though, why bother?

    Apple are probably stuffed on this, to be honest; it's not a biological hazard, it's not even a chemical hazard, really, and the warranty doesn't specifically exclude it, so I'd think it unlikely they succeed in court with an argument that smoking near the computer was the cause of the failure or that doing so was somehow an unusual or extreme environment. I also think the employee is on a hiding to nothing with the exposure claim.

    As for mister “Smokers take death for granted” anyone who doesn't is in a for large, final and fatal surprise; death comes for you, too (barring some currently speculative medicine advances).

  163. jake Silver badge

    "Do you mind if I smoke?"

    "Not if you don't mind my wife throwing up!"

    Apologies (and a big "thank you!") to the late, great Vivian Stanshall :-)

    http://www.vivarchive.org.uk/articles/playscript.htm

  164. Leigh 5
    Pirate

    Little Sympathy

    Years ago, I opened up a Mac owned by a ship's master to upgrade memory and hard drives including a non-functional Zip drive. The inside of the machine was a tawny brown and the stickiest stuff I've ever handled. The captain was a smoker and apparently a heavy smoker. We tried several cleaning solutions without much luck. We concluded the Zip drive was fouled by the same sticky substance.

    That machine would have made a great object lesson for anyone who smoked. After that experience, I wouldn't honor warranties contaminated in smoke environments.

  165. David Pickering
    FAIL

    well..

    if youre STUPID enough to buy crapple tatt..

    btw, lol at second hand smoke - fucking ridiculous.

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