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NEW YORK -- Vector Group Ltd. said its new nicotine-free cigarette product will be named Quest and will be available nationwide beginning in the third quarter of 2002.
Vector also announced that it would combine the sales and marketing functions of its Liggett Group and Vector Tobacco subsidiaries into a new entity, Liggett Vector Brands Inc.
Quest cigarettes will be sold in Lights and Menthol Lights variants, in both box and soft packs, and will be supported by a $40-million advertising and marketing campaign. Quest cigarettes utilize a proprietary process that enables the production of a tobacco cigarette that is nicotine-free and tastes and smokes like a conventional cigarette.
The newly formed Liggett Vector Brands will coordinate and execute the sales and marketing efforts for all of Vector Group's tobacco operations. With the combined resources of Liggett Group and Vector Tobacco, Liggett Vector Brands initially will have 350 salespeople with plans to expand to as many as 500 by the end of 2002, and enhanced distribution and marketing capabilities.
Ronald Bernstein will serve as president and CEO of Liggett Vector Brands, which will be headquartered in New York.
"Under Ron Bernstein's proven leadership, Liggett Vector Brands will work to further expand and enhance our ability to sell, distribute and market our Liggett and Vector Tobacco products in markets nationwide," said Bennett LeBow, chairman and CEO of the Vector Group. "We're confident that a focused sales and marketing effort is the best approach to maximizing penetration of Liggett premium products, and Vector Tobacco products."