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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) is preparing for the national roll-out of VUSE with a multimillion-dollar investment in Tobaccoville.
Under the service agreement pact, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. will begin production of VUSE digital vapor cigarettes for R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. A multimillion-dollar investment will also be made for high-speed, next-generation e-cigarette manufacturing equipment at R.J. Reynolds' Tobaccoville manufacturing complex.
The agreement will create 200 full-time jobs in Tobaccoville.
"VUSE is a game-changing product and a tangible demonstration of our companies' mission to transform the tobacco industry," said Susan M. Cameron, president and CEO of RAI. "We need additional production capacity for VUSE to support the national rollout of the brand, and the highly trained workforce here in our home state of North Carolina made it the perfect choice for our expansion location."
VUSE has become a leader in its first two markets, Colorado and Utah, and will hit the national scene this summer.
"If our past successes in converting smokers to VUSE is any indication of our future response from adult tobacco consumers nationwide, we'll need new-generation, high-speed equipment and a larger workforce to support market demand," Cameron said.
Hiring for the new full-time manufacturing positions, which will pay, on average, more than $40,000 a year, will begin this summer and extend over the next four years. Installation of the new-generation equipment will begin this summer.
Currently, production of VUSE cartridges and other components is done for R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. at a contractor's facility in Kansas. Cameron said that both the existing facility and the new equipment will be needed for the foreseeable future to meet anticipated market demand for VUSE.
"Transforming our community for the better is part of our overall commitment to transforming the tobacco industry," she said. "We've done that in a number of ways -- through philanthropy, through the donation of properties and buildings to fuel economic development, and through employee volunteerism. But I can tell you, it sure feels good to be announcing new jobs and a major investment in equipment right here in North Carolina."
Winston-Salem-based Reynolds American Inc. is the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; American Snuff Co. LLC; Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc.; Niconovum USA Inc.; Niconovum AB; and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co.