22nd Century Group (XXII) Adds 1,200 Drug Store Locations Selling VLN® in Five States

First Drug Store Channel Retail Chain Begins VLN® Sales in September, Continues to Book Additional Launches for Rest of 2023

BUFFALO, N.Y., Sept. 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 22nd Century Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: XXII), a leading biotechnology company focused on utilizing advanced plant technologies to improve health and wellness with reduced nicotine tobacco, hemp/cannabis and hops, today announced its FDA authorized VLN® reduced nicotine content cigarettes designed specifically to promote tobacco harm reduction are now available at more than 1,200 drug store locations across Texas, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Georgia beginning in September. With this most recent addition, VLN® is available in more than 4,000 stores across 16 states, compared with approximately 1,100 stores at July 1.

“We are excited to launch the first drug store chain selling our FDA authorized VLN® tobacco harm reduction products, adding 1,200 stores across five key state markets to our growing roster of convenience store points of sale,” stated John Miller, interim Chief Executive Officer of 22nd Century Group. “VLN® offers a new, clinically researched solution helping adult smokers reduce their smoking rate and the associated harms of smoking over time.”

“VLN® users continue to report an overwhelmingly positive experience in our market research, and most say it has helped them reduce consumption of their regular cigarette brand,” said Miller. “Research with VLN® users indicates that while most non-prescription methods of quitting or reducing smoking are strongly disliked, more than 75% of VLN users say they like their experience with the product. As a result of using VLN, 80% of adult consumers report a reduction in usage of their regular brand, and many want to share their positive experience with other adult smokers.”

VLN® is the first and only FDA authorized combustible cigarette labelled as a tobacco harm reduction product. As demonstrated by leading independent scientists and reviewed by the FDA, reducing the nicotine level in cigarettes has the potential to substantially reduce the enormous burden of smoking-related death and disease. It is estimated that a nicotine product standard to a level that is 95% less than the level of nicotine contained in U.S. conventional cigarettes could save millions of lives and tens of millions of life-years over the next several decades.

“We continue to move ahead with a growing pipeline of VLN® retailers in multiple trade classes including c-store, mass market and drugstore chains that are interested in helping their customers adopt a healthier lifestyle,” said Miller. “Those interested in trying VLN® can find locations through the Store Locator link on tryvln.com, which is updated regularly as we continue to expand access to VLN® products in new states and retail chains.”

Market Data and Additional VLN® Background
22nd Century’s distribution agreements with the top U.S. C-Store products distributors, plus a growing list of regional distribution, provide solutions for convenience stores, mass merchants and drug stores seeking to carry the Company’s revolutionary VLN® reduced nicotine content cigarettes.

22nd Century Group’s VLN® brand cigarettes are the first and only combustible cigarettes that the FDA has authorized as Modified Risk Tobacco Products (MRTP). The Company’s VLN® King and VLN® Menthol King contain 95% less nicotine than traditional addictive cigarettes, a level considered to be minimally or non-addictive. Reduced nicotine content cigarettes, such as VLN®, have been studied extensively by federal health agencies, documenting their ability to help smokers smoke less. To inform adult smokers of the product’s distinctive purpose, the FDA requires 22nd Century to include the statement “Helps You Smoke Less” on every package of VLN® sold.

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 Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) authorization for 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.

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 9, 2023. 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
Matt Kreps
Investor Relations
22nd Century Group