The Mocksville manufacturing operation of 22nd Century Group Inc. is expected to gain additional jobs and equipment from the signing of a new production agreement with a cigarette exporter.
The manufacturer, based in Buffalo, did not identify the tobacco cigarette exporter.
22nd Century has its cigarette-manufacturing operations in a 62,000-square-foot plant in Mocksville where it has 49 of its 65 employees.
The company said in a statement that “the expected increase in workforce will happen gradually as we ramp up our production to meet our new contract manufacturing agreements.”
In May, the company said it had expanded testing capabilities for its very-low-nicotine (VLN) tobacco and cigarettes products.
22nd Century has been waiting since February 2020 for the Food and Drug Administration to decide whether it will approve a modified-risk tobacco- product application that would allow it to market and sell its very-low-nicotine traditional cigarettes to consumers.
The company said Thursday that management is “highly confident that it is in the final stages of the FDA’s application process.”
The manufacturer had said its traditional cigarettes contain 95% less nicotine than those in the marketplace.
Some analysts and industry officials have questioned whether drastically lower nicotine levels will just lead smokers to consume more cigarettes.
22nd Century said the new agreement will help to establish additional distribution channels for its VLN products.
Earlier this year, 22nd Century signed an unidentified cigar contract-manufacturing customer.
With these new agreements and our expanding investments, we are opportunistically using this time to ramp up our operations ahead of authorization, as we prepare to make VLN available globally,” James Mish, 22nd Century’s chief executive, said in a statement.