Phillip Morris International (PMI) has received (Oct. 7th 2014) its US patent for an ‘Electrically Heated Smoking System’ Unlike many currently available ‘vape’ sticks, the new device can heat actual tobacco rather than evaporating a nicotine-based liquid. And, unusually for a cigarette, it can ‘communicate’ with a host computer/ tablet etc via a USB plug.
“The host is able to connect to one or more Internet sites in order to upload data or download data or both upload and download data.” If you are wondering what kind of data, the patent document alerts to the possibilities of ‘Pay-as-you-smoke’ apps. : “Other possible capabilities include, but are not limited to: Pay-as-you-smoke functionality. For example the user buys daily or weekly or monthly smoking time from the Internet application supported on the PC, or the user obtains smoking time credits based on cigarettes and other smoking articles bought via the Internet application.” The patent device appears to have much in common with the soon-to-be-launched Marlboro IQOS system. (see page 72 in PMI’s ‘Investor Day – Reduced Risk Products’ document, Lausanne, June 26, 2014)