CLARENCE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE MKT:XXII), a plant biotechnology company that is focused on tobacco harm reduction and cannabis research, announced today that the Company commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an international online survey from May 24–28, 2017 among over 6,000 adults ages 18+ in the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Results of the multi-national consumer survey reflect overwhelming support for a reduction in nicotine content in cigarettes to non-addictive levels.
Survey respondents echoed the recommendation of former FDA Commissioner, Dr. David Kessler, who proposed in an interview with The Washington Post that the amount of nicotine in a cigarette should drop from about 10 milligrams to less than 1 milligram. "If you do this, you can save 200,000 to 300,000 lives a year," Kessler said. "Everything else pales in comparison."
The May 2017 survey asked how governments should introduce Very Low Nicotine cigarettes to smokers in each country. Representing an important cross-section of populations, more than half of international adults (59%) identified themselves as current or former smokers. Though slight differences appear from country-to-country, the survey results show remarkable consistency and compelling support for governments to implement nicotine reduction strategies.
- 88% of international adults agree that cigarette companies should be required to print the nicotine content of their cigarettes on the pack. Japan is the only country of the five surveyed with cigarette packaging that contains information regarding nicotine content. At this time, cigarette packs in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. do not indicate the nicotine content of cigarettes.
- A majority of international adults (54%) think that cigarettes with very low, non-addictive nicotine levels should be taxed at a lower rate than conventional cigarettes with addictive levels of nicotine. While governments can and do raise tobacco excise taxes, they compel smokers to choose between financial hardship and largely ineffective smoking cessation products. A lower tax rate for Very Low Nicotine cigarettes would provide smokers with motivation to opt for reduced nicotine products.
- In the strongest of policy options, 74% of international adults agree that the government should mandate that all cigarettes have very low, non-addictive levels of nicotine. An additional 11% agree that, at the very least, cigarette companies should be required to offer one style of cigarettes with lower levels of nicotine.
While adults in these five opinion-leading countries (United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom) recently identified accurate package labeling and a government mandate requiring non-addictive levels of nicotine in cigarettes as appropriate, scientists studying the effects of Very Low Nicotine cigarettes have already called upon governments around the world to make these very same changes. The World Health Organization’s Global Nicotine Reduction Strategy report called on WHO-member countries to “mandate reductions in nicotine to minimally addictive levels.” Other scientists authored a special paper, published in Tobacco Control journal, which asserts that governments around the world should reduce the nicotine content of cigarettes to non-addictive levels… “≤ 0.4 mg per gram of tobacco, a 95-98% reduction in nicotine content relative to what is currently on the market.”
22nd Century is the only company in the world capable of growing tobacco with nicotine levels of just 0.4mg per gram of tobacco. Leading scientists using 22nd Century’s Very Low Nicotine SPECTRUM® research cigarettes have found that Very Low Nicotine SPECTRUM cigarettes are associated with reduced consumption and increased quit attempts (N Engl J Med 2015; 373:1340-1349).
What is intuitive to international adults is also well-studied in clinical trials. The Tobacco Control article summarized the highly attractive characteristics of Very Low Nicotine tobacco in this way: “…in current smokers, very low nicotine content (VLNC) cigarettes decrease nicotine exposure, decrease cigarette dependence, reduce the number of cigarettes smoked per day and increase the likelihood of contemplating, making and succeeding at a quit attempt.”
“There is a compelling and urgent case for enacting a national nicotine policy in the United States and around the world,” explained Henry Sicignano, III, President and Chief Executive Officer of 22nd Century Group. “Leading scientists and the public agree: governments should mandate the availability of Very Low Nicotine cigarettes.”
This survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of 22nd Century Group from May 24–28, 2017 among 2,148 adults ages 18 and older in the United States, 1,014 adults ages 18 and older in the United Kingdom, 1,056 adults ages 18 and older in Japan, 1,050 adults ages 18 and older in Canada, and 1,033 adults ages 18 and older in Australia. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact (716) 270-1523.
About 22nd Century Group, Inc.
22nd Century is a plant biotechnology company focused on genetic engineering and plant breeding which allows the increase or decrease of the level of nicotine in tobacco plants and the level of cannabinoids in cannabis plants. The Company’s primary mission in tobacco is to reduce the harm caused by smoking. The Company’s primary mission in cannabis is to develop proprietary hemp/cannabis strains for important new medicines and agricultural crops. Visit www.xxiicentury.com and www.botanicalgenetics.com for more information.
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