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August 06. 2014 7:09PM

Canadian firm to open E cigarette plant in Colebrook

COLEBROOK — A Canadian company has announced plans to open an electronic cigarette manufacturing plant in Colebrook later this month, generating at least 10 new jobs by early next year.

Vaporium Inc., an electronic cigarette company from Sherbrooke, Quebec, is expanding its operations to the U.S., leasing 7,500 square feet of manufacturing space at the Colebrook Industrial Park, according to Lorna Colquhoun, communications director for the state’s Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED).

Expanding to Colebrook, located nine miles from the Canadian border, made sense, said Sylvain Longpre, president of Vaporium.

“I chose Colebrook because it’s business friendly and close to my office in Sherbrooke,” he said. “For a small Quebec company like mine, I need to be in the U.S. market, but I also want to be in a state like New Hampshire, which has low taxes and available labor.”

The company worked with local and state officials for about a year, said Michael Bergeron, business development manager for the DRED’s Division of Economic Development.

“Vaporium is committed to hiring at least 10 employees in the next six months, as it ramps up production,” Bergeron said.

“We are thrilled,” said Roland Cotnoir, secretary of the Colebrook Development Corp. “Any time there’s news about jobs coming to Colebrook, that’s good news.”

“This is very good for Colebrook,” said Jules Kennett, chairman of the Colebrook Board of Selectmen. “The have committed to bringing at least 10 jobs here. Any more beyond that in the future will depend on the demand for the product.”

Kennett said no date has been determined when applications will be available for jobs at Vaporium.

Beno Lamontagne, the DRED’s business retention specialist for the North County, said the company will make its U.S. home in a facility built to attract new businesses to the region.

“Vaporium is occupying a building owned by the Colebrook Development Corp., which was built to attract out-of-state companies creating full time jobs for local individuals and families,” he said.

Advocates call Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or E-cigarettes, a viable method to quit smoking. Opponents claim nicotine is addictive whether it is inhaled through smoke or comes in a battery-powered blast of vapor at the push of a button.

And many are concerned about rapid growth of the industry and availability of the products, now a common sight in convenience stores.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed in April to define E cigarettes as a tobacco product, allowing the FDA to regulate it like regular cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

The proposal is currently in a public comment phase that ends Friday.



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