An e-cigarette which can connect to the internet, allowing users to "buy" puffing time online, in daily, weekly or monthly chunks is being considered by tobacco giant Philip Morris.
E-cigarette smokers would be forced to "pay as you puff" after Morris patented a device which tracks every inhalation, the Independent reported.
The digital functionality would allow recording and uploading of smoking behavior information, something that could prove useful in the drive to kick the habit, as well as in clinical trials.
However, Morris also identified the commercial potential of selling smoking "credits". The patent submission said 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".
Philip Morris suggested that its proposition was an altruistic initiative, with the device also able to connect users with an "approved support-group internet site for assistance with smoking cessation."