R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. will be producing Vuse digital vapor cigarettes in Tobaccoville, North Carolina, USA, for R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. under a services agreement between the two companies. The firm will invest millions of dollars in high-speed e-cigarette manufacturing equipment and create 200 full-time manufacturing over the next four years.
“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 Reynolds American Inc., the parent company of both R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co.
“We need additional production capacity for Vuse to support the national roll-out 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,” Cameron said.
Cameron said that Vuse is the top-selling vapor cigarette in Colorado and Utah, the two states in which it has broad distribution and full marketing support. A national roll-out of Vuse will begin this summer.
“If our past successes in converting smokers to Vuse are 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 will begin this summer and extend over the next four years. Installation of the new-generation equipment, too, 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.
Reynolds American Inc. has agreed to resume discussions with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) about ways to address alleged farm-worker abuse, according to a story by Federico Martinez for The Blade (Toledo, Ohio).
Reynolds was said to have agreed to resume the meetings after the farm-labor union and advocacy group staged a protest outside the tobacco company’s annual shareholders meeting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA.
“It appears that there is some interest on their part,” said FLOC president Baldemar Velasquez, who added that he hadn’t heard from Reynolds’ officials since December. “Whether or not they are sincere about addressing the concerns is another issue.”
Velasquez and other critics say they want Reynolds’ officials to address several issues, including the human trafficking of workers from Mexico and Central America, and the numerous human-rights abuses from which they say tobacco-industry laborers frequently suffer.
FLOC’s primary mission was to persuade the tobacco company to support farm workers’ efforts to form a union, said Velasquez.
Many tobacco farm workers lived in labor camps with inadequate or non-functioning toilets or showers and other substandard conditions. They also suffered from nicotine poisoning and exposure to dangerous pesticides, he added.
Reynolds’ spokesman David Howard said the two sides hadn’t met since December but they had communicated by phone and email.
“We’ve had a series of discussions since December,” Howard said. “They are ongoing and we will continue meeting and having dialogue.”
Reynolds American Inc.’s experiment with making e-cigarettes is about to move to a larger distribution scale, the company said Thursday at its annual shareholders meeting.
The company provided several strategic updates during formal remarks by Daan Delen, its CEO and president, and during a question-and-answer session that wasn’t consumed by farm-worker issues, according to the website equities.com.
Reynolds also said it has placed links on its website — www.reynoldsamerican.com — under the corporate governance header where its 2012 political-oriented contributions are listed. Delen said the company opted for more disclosure after getting requests from various stakeholder groups.
R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co. remains in test markets with its internally developed Vuse e-cigs with no reported sales numbers. Vuse is being sold at Tarheel Tobacco stores at 6311 Stadium Drive in Clemmons, 3193 Peters Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem and in Danville, Va.
Reynolds American Inc. is due to host a conference call and webcast following the release of first-quarter 2013 financial results before the market opens on April 23.
The company’s president and CEO, Daniel M. Delen, its CFO, Thomas R. Adams, and its vice president of investor relations, Morris L. Moore, will speak during the conference call and webcast, which will start at 09.00 hours Eastern Time.
Registration for the event, which will be available at www.reynoldsamerican.com on a listen-only basis, is now open. A replay of the conference call will be available at the same website.
The call-in numbers are (877) 390 5533 (toll-free) and (678) 894 3969 (International).