• July 24, 2024

VLN Relaunch in Korea

 VLN Relaunch in Korea
Image: Tobacco Reporter archive

22nd Century Group announced a new agreement for full-scale commercial rollout of its VLN reduced-nicotine content cigarettes in South Korea. The new agreement with 22nd Century’s local partner, Nico-Tech Korea Inc., follows an initial test launch conducted in 2022 that identified product updates needed to align with local South Korean cigarette characteristics and appeal to the specific preferences of adult smokers in Korea.

“South Korea is a unique market characterized by high smoking rates and a corresponding high commitment from its government to reduce the harms of smoking,” said Larry Firestone, chairman and CEO, in a statement. “Based on the pilot launch in 2022, we made key product modifications to better align with specific characteristics of combusted cigarettes preferred by South Korea’s adult smokers. We have made those changes and are now ready to fully enter the market with VLN export shipments to South Korea anticipated to begin later this year.

“This relaunch with our original partner, Nico-Tech, demonstrates their commitment to smoking harm reduction and making VLN products a key part of the South Korean market through the diverse array of local retail channels they serve. We are working with Nico-Tech to plan a full launch event for the fall of 2024, including on-site support.”

South Korea represents an estimated $1.6 billion tobacco market and was the first international market to commence sales of VLN reduced-nicotine content cigarettes. While tobacco product use has declined since signing into law the 1995 National Health Promotion Act and subsequent government actions, the prevalence of smoking remains high in certain segments of the South Korean population. It is estimated that one in three adult men in South Korea are smokers, and an estimated 6 percent of adult women smoke.

Nico-Tech will be responsible for all local marketing activities to generate consumer demand and awareness in South Korea. The new agreement includes minimum order quantities to support the initial stocking and restocking needs of the planned South Korean distribution.