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In seeking regulatory approval overseas for iQOS, an electronic smoking device, Philip Morris International Inc. is claiming the product is less likely to cause disease than traditional cigarettes. But the iQOS, which is gaining popularity in Japan, holds another, less obvious advantage over regular smokes: the ability to harvest personal data about users’ smoking habits.

The tobacco giant is already building a database of iQOS customers who register with the company. And it has developed a software application that could take things a step further.

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