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22nd Century Group (XXII) Accelerates Major Growing Program to Enable Implementation of New Zealand’s Reduced-Nicotine Content Tobacco Law

22nd Century Group, Inc
22nd Century Group, Inc

Seeding Program Will Produce Tobacco for Up To 2 Billion Sticks – The Entire Annual Cigarette Consumption of New Zealand – To Make Reduced Nicotine Content Cigarettes Readily Available at National Scale

VLN® Poised to Serve as the Foundational Cigarette for Reduced Nicotine Content Public Health Policies Worldwide

BUFFALO, N.Y., Feb. 22, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 22nd Century Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: XXII), a leading biotechnology company dedicated to improving health with reduced nicotine tobacco, hemp/cannabis and hops advanced plant technologies, today announced it has accelerated a major seed cultivation project for its proprietary reduced nicotine content tobaccos to support local authorities as they work to implement New Zealand’s new reduced nicotine content law starting from this year. The seed will be used to rapidly scale the availability of 22nd Century's reduced nicotine content tobacco leaf to manufacture cigarettes compliant with New Zealand’s new reduced nicotine content law.

“New Zealand’s groundbreaking new law will require a sizeable expansion of reduced nicotine content tobacco leaf production to address market needs. 22nd Century’s ultra-low nicotine content tobaccos are the only commercial scale naturally grown tobacco varieties ready to meet the New Zealand law today. We are moving immediately to ensure sufficient leaf capacity of our reduced nicotine content tobacco to serve the entire New Zealand market as the new law is implemented,” said John Miller, president of tobacco products for 22nd Century Group.

22nd Century’s proprietary reduced nicotine content tobacco varieties grow with 95% less nicotine than the commercial tobaccos used in making cigarettes for the New Zealand market. Significantly, 22nd Century’s non-GMO tobacco varieties are already compliant with the New Zealand law, which requires all combustible cigarettes to contain less than 0.8 mg of nicotine per gram of tobacco, inclusive of testing variance.

22nd Century’s expanded growing program, centered in the heart of the US tobacco belt, will produce additional seed sufficient for approximately 2 billion sticks, the entire annual New Zealand cigarette market volume.

“New Zealand has taken the global lead in tobacco control through its new law, which will reduce the harms of smoking and improve public health and health equity, particularly among minority communities that are disproportionately burdened with the health and economic harms of smoking,” said John D. Pritchard, vice president of regulatory science at 22nd Century.

22nd Century continues to actively support the New Zealand Government’s Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 plan, including executive testimony at the New Zealand Health Select Committee, engaging with a wide range of health stakeholders and continuing engagement with regulators in support of implementation of the new law.

“As we increase quantities of our reduced nicotine tobacco seed, 22nd Century is demonstrating conclusively that the tobacco supply chain will pivot quickly to support the ramp up of the national-scale public health program,” Miller added.

Using 22nd Century Group’s reduced nicotine tobacco, the Company’s VLN® cigarettes boast an ultra-low nicotine content that is 95% less than conventional cigarettes, a level of nicotine the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers to be “minimally or non-addictive” and which helps existing adult smokers to smoke less. VLN® cigarettes are poised to serve as the foundational cigarette for reduced nicotine public health policies in New Zealand, the United States, and around the world. Such momentous reduced nicotine health policies are rapidly taking shape. The FDA recently announced plans to advance its transformative reduced nicotine content standards later in 2023, which seeks to limit the nicotine levels in all cigarettes to a level considered "minimally or non-addictive.”

About 22nd Century Group, Inc.
22nd Century Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: XXII) is a leading biotechnology company focused on utilizing advanced alkaloid plant technologies to improve health and wellness through tobacco harm reduction, reduced nicotine tobacco, hemp/cannabis and hops. 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 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.

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
Matt Kreps
22nd Century Group, Inc.
Investor Relations