BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On July 28th, the FDA announced it would begin the process of replacing traditional tobacco with a very low nicotine counterpart. And as it turns out, the only company in the world to have that capability at this moment, is from Clarence, and their lab, where all the magic happens, is in downtown Buffalo.
Inside the labs of 22nd Century Group are the literal and metaphorical seedlings of the future of tobacco.
There is no official class of very low nicotine, but the World Health Organization has established a parameter of 0.4 mg per gram, or about 95 percent lower than traditional tobacco, said Jim Vail, the director of communication for 22nd Century.
“We’re pretty much the only company like that they can grow a plant right out of the ground for use in cigarettes,” Vail said. “And that’s kind of the primary goal of helping people to break their addiction to cigarettes.”
The company has been selling its very low nicotine cigarettes to the U.S. government for research purposes since 2011.
But the FDA’s announcement is a game changer, Vail said.
“The science and the research that was conducted with our cigarettes, from a company in Clarence, New York, was basically what the FDA commissioner was standing on when he made that bold announcement that said we have a way to solve this problem, and save millions of lives.”
Not only is 22nd Century on the cutting edge of research on very low nicotine tobacco, but they’re working to develop new ways to grow industrial hemp and medical marijuana. Announcements on those products could happen later this year.