The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reports that the Biden administration is considering a rule that will limit nicotine content in cigarettes to “non-addictive” levels.
22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE: XXII), according to its website, “is a leading plant biotechnology company focused on technologies that alter the level of nicotine in tobacco plants.”
On Monday at 1 p.m. Eastern, the daily volume for the stock was about 1.1 million shares, and it was trading near $3.14 per share.
The Wall Street Journal broke the news at 3:12 p.m., and the stock began rising rapidly as traders rushed for shares. Trading was subsequently halted for volatility at 3:13 p.m. Trading resumed at 3:18 p.m., and XXII peaked at $3.97 shortly after — a rise of 26%.
The potential policy change comes as the Food and Drug Administration considers a citizens’ petition requesting a ban on menthol cigarettes. The petition is supported by the American Dental Association, the American Lung Association, and a host of other organizations.
A coalition letter urging the FDA to enact the ban expects a response by April 29.
Former FDA head Scott Gottlieb pursued both a menthol ban and a reduction in nicotine level.
According to the FDA, “Nicotine is what addicts and keeps people using tobacco products, but it is not what makes tobacco use so deadly… It is this mix of chemicals—not nicotine—that causes serious disease and death in tobacco users.”
At the closing bell, XXII had a price of $3.55 per share, an increase of 11% for the day with more than 10.5 million shares changing hands for the day.
At writing, neither the White House nor the FDA has provided public comment.
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