April 2, 2009
Anti-smoking forces won a long-awaited victory Thursday as the House passed legislation that would give the federal government key controls over the tobacco industry for the first time.
[efoods]The measure, passed 298-112, gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate — but not ban — cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The Senate could take up its version of the bill later this month, and supporters are confident they can overcome opposition from tobacco-state senators. The White House supports the legislation, a shift from the Bush administration which threatened to veto a House-passed measure last year.
President Barack Obama has spoken publicly about his own struggles to kick a smoking habit.
“This is truly a historic day in the fight against tobacco, and I am proud that we have taken such decisive action,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the bill’s sponsor. “Today we have moved to place the regulation of tobacco under FDA in order to protect the public health, and now we all can breathe a little easier.”