- C-store giant 7-Eleven Inc. will be adding VLN reduced-nicotine cigarettes to more than 1,450 of its company-owned locations in Texas, Florida and California, and offering incentives for an additional 3,100 stores owned by franchisees to follow suit, according to a Tuesday press release.
- VLN cigarettes, created by Buffalo, New York-based biotech 22nd Century Group, will begin showing up on store shelves in late June for the corporate-owned location and in early July for franchised locations.
- Each cigarette has about 95% less nicotine than a traditional option, according to the announcement.
With a majority of cigarette users trying to quit each year, according to the VLN announcement, low-nicotine products are aimed at offering these consumers an alternative to traditional smoking products.
The agreement targets the three largest states by population, all of which have smokers making up between 10% and 15% of their overall population, according ot the announcement.
Some franchise owners have already submitted orders for the product, the release said. The VLN products will be distributed through McLane and Core-Mark, a 22nd Century Group spokesperson confirmed.
The company plans to expand to other c-store, pharmacy and military chains, plus more units of existing chains, in the coming months according to the release.
“These launch plans give us increased visibility into additional stores and states through the rest of the year, keeping us on track to reach our stated growth goals,” John Miller, president of tobacco products for 22nd Century Group, said in the release.
The Food and Drug Administration gave marketing approval to the VLN King and VLN Menthol King in late 2021, saying in its release that they were “unlikely to lead to addiction and initiation among non-users, including youth.” The products also received “exposure modification” orders, which means the FDA approved them using language like “helps reduce your nicotine consumption” in the marketing of these products.
Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. owns, licenses or franchises about 13,000 locations in North America, including 7-Eleven, Speedway, Stripes and more. The company offers a variety of foodservice and private label goods, and its loyalty program has more than 50 million members.