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FDA Approves Very Low Nicotine Cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the marketing of 22nd Century Group’s very low nicotine products.
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Last week, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the marketing of 22nd Century Group’s “VLN [very low nicotine] King” and “VLN Menthol King” combusted, filtered cigarettes as “modified risk tobacco products.”

That means they “help reduce exposure to, and consumption of, nicotine for smokers who use them,” the FDA said.

“These are the first combusted cigarettes to be authorized as MRTPs and the second tobacco products overall to receive exposure modification orders, which allows them to be marketed as having a reduced level of, or presenting a reduced exposure to, a substance.”

The rationale behind the move: “Our mission is to find ways to stop tobacco-related disease and death,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

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“We know that three out of four adult smokers want to quit, and the data on these products show they can help addicted adult smokers transition away from highly addictive combusted cigarettes.”

Altria MO is the biggest U.S. tobacco company. It recently traded at $47.21, and Morningstar analyst Philip Gorham puts fair value at $52.

“Altria missed our volume estimates in the third quarter, leading to a disappointing top line, but beat our estimates at the gross margin,” he wrote last month.

“Our belief [is] that the tobacco industry will provide investors with a safe haven from the inflationary pressures that are likely to affect most other consumer product manufacturers during the next few quarters.”