I think the bio-hazard thing is a load of BS, but the smoking thing I'm not the least bit surprised by, and in fact having worked on machines owned by smokers, I can totally get behind it. I've never seen filthier machines (on the inside) than those used in the presence of cigarette smoke, the smoke lands on the computer components, making them sticky, and attracting immense amounts of dust (which then picks up more smoke, which picks up more dust, and on and on.) I've more than once had to resort to physically scraping the dust-goo off of components that were overheating because canned air (dust-off) didn't have enough power to budge it.
Furthermore, some of the components of cigarette smoke are conductive, so there's every chance that along with heat damage, electrical shorts could lead to the early demise of the computer.
Yes, this should probably be mentioned in the warranty more specifically, but i'm sure it's covered under environmental damage legally speaking.
My sister smokes & her PC was starting to do strange things, so she dropped the thing off to me. (I don't smoke, and smoke makes me sick)
I opened up the case, and it looked like sticky-poop looking muck all over the PC - on top of the processor heat sink (just under the fan) was a layer of this muck. It's like smoke in a solid form. Canned air would not even dint this muck - a screwdriver was about the only thing to work. It finally started to make me sick that I told her it was fried and she needed a new PC - it was beyond fixable.
I would guess the computers in the story was not this bad, but I can see the point of people not wanted to work on them... I will most likely never work on my sister's computer again.
I worked at the Apple Depot in Memphis for almost a year (friggin layoffs), and it was common practice to not work on machines that had horrible tar. Its not so much that they were hazardous (gloves!) but that there was so much that had to be done. Here in Memphis, most of the workers are lazy, and opening a machine and and seeing tar covered MLB, HDD, ODD, and LCD panel is grounds for BER status, no matter what it is. Hell, just the MLB, HDD, and ODD would be grounds for it to be put in requote or sent back as a biohazard. Thats just how it is.
Also, so people can't say I didn't work there and I have no clue what the hell I say, all of the apple techs are NOT apple employees. They are employed by Flextronics, so really no one cares.
I didn't deny its existence my point was that it doesn't matter if the person is a smoker or non smoker but what does matter is there life style, a friend witch works at a PC repair shop once said you can tell a person's personal hygiene level just by looking in his PC and he was right except for some rare cases (i know a guy who keeps a regular maintenance on his PC but his house is a filthy mess), i seen grotesque non smokers PC's and i seen grotesque smoker PC's (though like i said currently the record for the most disgusting PC i seen is currently being held by a non smoking female), as well as vice versa.So you deny that smoke can cause it's own type of residue? I'm glad you never saw it, but I've seen it all too much, and it most certainly exists, and no, those stories don't seem exaggerated to me. In fact, for people who work in the field and have to deal with it all of the time, that probably doesn't do justice what they've seen. It's a wet-like (but isn't really "wet" per se) physical buildup of smelly tar-like stuff with dust in it.