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22nd Century Group’s fast-rising sales helped the Clarence-based cigarette company cut its fourth-quarter losses by 60 percent.

The company is ramping up production at its North Carolina cigarette factory, generating $2.9 million in sales during the final three months of last year, compared with about $1,000 in revenue a year earlier.

That helped 22nd Century cut its losses to $2.4 million, or 4 cents per share, from a loss of $5.6 million, or 10 cents per share, a year ago.

The company, which has patented technology that allows it to manipulate the nicotine levels in tobacco, last year began selling its Red Sun super premium cigarettes, and also won an order from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse for 5 million low-nicotine cigarettes that will be used in smoking cessation research.

The company also is seeking permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to tout one of its cigarette brands for their very low nicotine content. That application is part of 22nd Century’s push to bring its very-low nicotine cigarettes to market and highlight how smokers who use them can reduce their exposure to the nicotine that makes smoking so hard to quit.