22nd Century to Re-Launch and Expand VLN(R) Presence in South Korea

July 09, 2024 8:30 AM EDT | Source: 22nd Century Group

Mocksville, North Carolina--(Newsfile Corp. - July 9, 2024) - 22nd Century Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: XXII), a tobacco products company focused on nicotine harm reduction and contract manufacturing, today announced a new agreement for full-scale commercial rollout of its VLN® reduced nicotine content cigarettes in South Korea. The new agreement with 22nd Century's local partner, Nico-Tech Korea, Inc., follows an initial test launch conducted in 2022 that identified product updates needed to align with local South Korean cigarette characteristics and appeal to the specific preferences of adult smokers in Korea.

Said Larry Firestone, Chairman and CEO: "South Korea is a unique market characterized by high smoking rates and a corresponding high commitment from its government to reduce the harms of smoking. Based on the pilot launch in 2022, we made key product modifications to better align with specific characteristics of combusted cigarettes preferred by South Korea's adult smokers. We have made those changes and are now ready to fully enter the market with VLN® export shipments to South Korea anticipated to begin later this year."

"This re-launch with our original partner, Nico-Tech, demonstrates their commitment to smoking harm reduction and making VLN® products a key part of the South Korean market through the diverse array of local retail channels they serve. We are working with Nico-Tech to plan a full launch event for the Fall of 2024, including on-site support."

South Korea represents an estimated $1.6 billion1 tobacco market and was the first international market to commence sales of VLN® reduced nicotine content cigarettes. While tobacco products use has declined since signing into law the 1995 National Health Promotion Act and subsequent government actions, the prevalence of smoking remains high in certain segments of the South Korean population.3 It is estimated that one in three adult men in South Korea2 are smokers, and an estimated 6% of adult women smoke.

Nico-Tech will be responsible for all local marketing activities to generate consumer demand and awareness in South Korea. The new agreement includes minimum order quantities to support the initial stocking and re-stocking needs of the planned South Korean distribution.

1 https://www.statista.com/outlook/cmo/tobacco-products/south-korea
2 https://www.statista.com/statistics/645282/south-korea-smoking-rate-by-gender/
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4371385/

About 22nd Century Group, Inc.

22nd Century Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: XXII) is an 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. The Company is a subsequent participating manufacturer under the Master Settlement Agreement ("MSA") and vertically integrated for the production of its both own products and contract manufacturing operations ("CMO"), which consist primarily of branded filtered cigars and conventional cigarettes.

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, including but not limited to our full year business outlook. 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. Forward-Looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding (i) our strategic alternatives and cost reduction initiatives, (ii) our expectations regarding regulatory enforcement, including our ability to receive an exemption from new regulations, (iii) our financial and operating performance and (iv) our expectations for our business interruption insurance claim. 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 28, 2024 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed on May 15, 2024. 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

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