22nd Century Group (XXII) Comments on the Advancement of New Zealand's National Reduced Nicotine Content Law

  • Committed to Supporting New Zealand's Reduced Nicotine Law with Its Tobacco Biotechnology
  • New Law Represents Significant Opportunity to Improve National Health through Well Designed Public Policy Framework
  • Believes New Zealand Law Provides a Template for Similar Action in Other Countries, Including the United States

Buffalo, New York--(Newsfile Corp. - December 13, 2022) -  22nd Century Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: XXII), a leading agricultural biotechnology company dedicated to improving health with reduced nicotine tobacco, hemp/cannabis, and hops advanced plant technologies, today commented on the advancement of a proposed New Zealand law designed to reduce the harms of smoking.

A key provision of the newly passed Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill requires all combustible tobacco cigarettes sold in New Zealand to contain no more than 0.8 mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco, inclusive of testing variance, a level considered to be non-addictive.

By including testing variance in the maximum permitted nicotine content of smoked tobacco products, New Zealand is compelling cigarette makers to target an average value of approximately 0.5 mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco content, the level achieved by 22nd Century Group's VLN® products, the only tobacco cigarette that meets the New Zealand standard today.

"We applaud New Zealand for leading the world with a groundbreaking new policy approach to improve public health by eliminating highly addictive nicotine cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the country and around the world," said John D. Pritchard, vice president of regulatory science at 22nd Century. "This policy is exactly what we were hoping for and more, particularly considering the inclusion of testing variance in evaluating nicotine content. This innovative approach forces manufacturers to cut the nicotine content in cigarettes to a level even below the new threshold. Our VLN® products are designed specifically for this type of policy, with years of research, documentation, and industry expertise to support our unique capabilities. In crafting the new law, New Zealand has been particularly focused on improving the health as well as financial well-being of Māori and Pasifika peoples where smoking rates are disproportionately higher than the national average."

Despite 20-years of declining smoking rates, New Zealand smokers still consume approximately 2 billion highly addictive tobacco cigarettes each year. Reducing the nicotine content of smoked tobacco is expected to help New Zealand achieve its goal to reduce the smoking rate to less than 5% of its population. The reduced nicotine requirement will become law following Royal Assent, the final procedural step for a bill to become law in New Zealand, with the requirement taking effect within 27 months.

At 0.5 mg/g of nicotine, VLN® from 22nd Century is the only cigarette in the world purposefully designed to "Help You Smoke Less" and able to meet the New Zealand standard today. 22nd Century Group's proprietary VLN® cigarettes smoke, smell, and taste like a cigarette but contain approximately 95% less nicotine than conventional cigarettes, a level designed to reduce nicotine dependence.

"22nd Century Group is 100% committed to enabling a reduced nicotine future for New Zealand through our plant biotechnology and VLN® reduced nicotine content cigarettes, the world's first and only combustible cigarettes to receive Modified Risk Tobacco Product authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration," said James A. Mish, chief executive officer of 22nd Century Group. "New Zealand's trailblazing policy approach provides a template for other countries around the world to secure the tremendous public health and economic benefits of reduced smoking rates, through the reduction of nicotine."

More information about the Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Smoked Tobacco) Amendment Bill and New Zealand's legislative process can be found on New Zealand's parliamentary website.

Similar to New Zealand, the U.S. FDA is presently advancing two game changing policy proposals to reduce the harms of smoking. 22nd Century supports the FDA's proposed menthol cigarette ban, which could leave VLN® Menthol King as the only combustible menthol cigarette on the market, providing a critical off-ramp to help current menthol smokers to smoke less. Additionally, the FDA's Comprehensive Plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation proposes to require that all cigarettes be made "minimally or non-addictive." 22nd Century has the only FDA-authorized combustible cigarette able to meet the stringent reduced nicotine content product standard proposed under the FDA's plan.

About 22nd Century Group, Inc.

22nd Century Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: XXII) is a leading agricultural biotechnology company focused on tobacco harm reduction, reduced nicotine tobacco and improving health and wellness through plant science. With dozens of patents allowing it to control nicotine biosynthesis in the tobacco plant, the Company has developed proprietary reduced nicotine content (RNC) tobacco plants and cigarettes, which have become the cornerstone of the FDA's Comprehensive Plan to address the widespread death and disease caused by smoking. The Company received the first and only FDA MRTP authorization of a combustible cigarette in December 2021. In tobacco, hemp/cannabis, and hop plants, 22nd Century uses modern plant breeding technologies, including genetic engineering, gene-editing, and molecular breeding to deliver solutions for the life science and consumer products industries by creating new, proprietary plants with optimized alkaloid and flavonoid profiles as well as improved yields and valuable agronomic traits.

Learn more at xxiicentury.com, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and on YouTube.

Learn more about VLN® at tryvln.com.

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Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Except for historical information, all of the statements, expectations, and assumptions contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements typically contain terms such as "anticipate," "believe," "consider," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "explore," "foresee," "goal," "guidance," "intend," "likely," "may," "plan," "potential," "predict," "preliminary," "probable," "project," "promising," "seek," "should," "will," "would," and similar expressions. Actual results might differ materially from those explicit or implicit in forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are set forth in "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 1, 2022, and in the Company's Quarterly Report filed on November 8, 2022. All information provided in this release is as of the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

Investor Relations & Media Contact
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Matt Kreps
T: 214-597-8200
mkreps@darrowir.com

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SOURCE 22nd Century Group