Forsyth County could learn this week if it will be home for an electronic-cigarette production operation with about 300 employees.
State Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, spoke Tuesday of an announcement “in the next two to three days” for the opening of a North Carolina factory making “a new and different product, a safer component of an electronic cigarette.”
E-cigs are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge and create a vapor that is inhaled.
Howard mentioned the project at the General Assembly during a discussion of a proposed state excise tax on e-cigs and vapor products in the N.C. House omnibus tax bill.
Howard did not provide details about the project.
However, it is likely the e-cig operation would involve R.J. Reynolds Vapor Co., its Vuse product and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.’s 1 million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Tobaccoville.
Reynolds declined Tuesday to discuss Howard’s comments. Spokesman Richard Smith said that final packaging and assembly of Vuse takes place in Tobaccoville.
In June 2013, as Reynolds was introducing Vuse distribution in Colorado — its first statewide retail presence — the company said that the cartridges are made in Kansas and the nicotine liquid that produces the vapor is made at its Winston-Salem research and development facilities.
Reynolds said at the time that production could be added at Tobaccoville if warranted by consumer demand.
Vuse is sold statewide in Colorado and Utah, as well as in select Tarheel Tobacco shops in the Triad. The company plans to begin national distribution by late June.
Stephanie Cordisco, president of Reynolds Vapor, has said the subsidiary’s determination to tackle the challenge of converting more of those who try e-cigs into regular users is why the company chose to develop and assemble Vuse in the United States.
Most of the smaller marketers are selling their e-cigs through a licensing deal with a Chinese manufacturer.
Ronald Bannon, investor relations director for Lorillard Tobacco Co. of Greensboro, said the nicotine liquid for its blu eCigs product is made domestically by a third-party supplier, while the cartridges are made in China.