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‘Smart’ e-cigarette can keep track of every puff

Internet-connected cigarettes could mean you ‘pay as you puff’ as tobacco giant Philip Morris patent a device which tracks every inhalation.

The patent, published earlier this week, proposes an e-cigarette that could connect to a computer or phone via wifi or USB.

The Independent reports:-The Marlboro manufacturer’s proposal envisages an e-cigarette which can connect to the internet, allowing users to “buy” puffing time online, in daily, weekly or monthly chunks.

This digital functionality would also allow for the recording and uploading of smoking behaviour information – something which could prove useful in the drive to kick the habit, as well as in clinical trials.

However, Philip Morris also identified the commercial potential of selling smoking “credits”. The patent submission says an accompanying mobile app could monitor when a user is about to run short of nicotine-related products and “automatically pre-order additional smoking articles”. Last year Philip Morris said that entry into the e-cigarette market would be its “greatest growth opportunity”.

Allowing the world’s largest tobacco company to track personal data of nicotine addicts has prompted privacy concerns.

Reporting for the  The Atlantic’s website, Robinson Meyer warned: “When you connect some previously dumb object to the internet, it can be both hacked, and you can be tracked. Smart objects give you access to health data and let you share it easily with doctors; they also allow it to be stolen.”