On Thursday Philip Morris International (PMI) announced an investment of approximately €300 million to convert the cigarette factory of Papastratos, PMI’s affiliate in Greece, into a manufacturing plant for the tobacco sticks to be used with its smoke-free product IQOS.

This is the biggest investment to be made in Greece since the crisis started in 2010, and will see 400 new jobs created in addition to the 800 current employees.

“This investment is further evidence of our progress towards a smoke-free future … this facility will help enable us to meet growing demand from adult smokers,” said Frederic de Wilde, PMI’s Regional President for the European Union.

IQOS is a heated tobacco product that was launched in late 2014 in two city test markets and is expected to be available in key cities in over 30 markets in 2017. It is one of four smoke-free product types from PMI to address adult smoker demand for potentially less harmful alternatives to cigarettes.

Given the equipment required to manufacture the tobacco sticks is larger, the current facility area will be expanded with construction on the site expected to commence immediately, and production scheduled to commence in January 2018.

Once fully operational, the plant located in Aspropyrgos will be PMI’s third facility solely dedicated to smoke-free products, and will have an annual capacity of around 20 billion tobacco sticks.

PMI is the world’s leading international tobacco company, with six of the world’s top 15 international brands and products sold in more than 180 markets.