Tobacco

Core-Mark Now Distributing VLN Reduced-Nicotine Cigarettes

Partnership gives 22nd Century Group access to more c-stores
VLN cigarettes
Photograph courtesy of 22nd Century Group Inc.

The maker of VLN reduced-nicotine cigarettes has partnered with convenience-store distributor Core-Mark to bring its low nicotine cigarettes to more convenience stores.

With the new agreement, Westlake, Texas-based Core-Mark, which was acquired in 2021 by Eby-Brown parent company Performance Food Group, now distributes 22nd Century Group's VLN products. 22nd Century will also attend 11 regional trade shows sponsored by the distributors.

"22nd Century's new partnership agreements with two of the largest, most respected convenience-store distributors in the United States make possible the launch of VLN cigarettes in virtually every key U.S. market we are targeting in our state-by-state, region-by-region roll-out strategy," said John Miller, president of tobacco products for 22nd Century Group. "We are proactively working with highly recognized retail chains that want to add VLN to their cigarette sets, many of which are already customers of Core-Mark and/or Eby-Brown, thus streamlining the rollout process."

The cigarettes are already in some stores at chains such as Laval, Quebec-based Circle K and Boulder, Colorado-based Smoker Friendly.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January 2022 issued a modified risk tobacco product designation to Buffalo, N.Y.-based 22nd Century for its VLN King and VLN Menthol King combusted, filtered cigarettes. VLN cigarettes smoke, taste and smell like a conventional cigarette, but with 95% less nicotine than conventional cigarettes, according to 22nd Century.

The FDA has said it will require tobacco companies to reduce the nicotine in all cigarettes sold in the United States to minimal or nonaddictive levels. The agency said it expects to offer more information in October

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