A bill to give the US Food and Drug Administration regulatory powers over the tobacco industry was passed by the House in a 298-112 vote.
The Senate takes up its version of the bill later this month, and supporters believe it will be successful despite opposition from tobacco-state senators.
The Obama administration supports the legislation. Last year, the Bush administration threatened to veto a House-passed measure to give the FDA the power to regulate tobacco.
The vote on the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was welcomed by many medical groups, including the American Medical Association.
Legislation a 'victory'
"This legislation is critical to combat smoking-related diseases and help get cigarettes out of the hands of children by giving the FDA needed regulatory authority over tobacco products," AMA President Dr Nancy Nielsen said.
"This legislation is a major victory for those of us who prize the health of this nation over the profits of tobacco companies, American Thoracic Society President-elect Dr J. Randall Curtis said.
"We applaud the House for passing the bill and hope that the Senate will move it through quickly so that President Obama can sign it into law as he has already indicated he would. Swift action could prevent tens of thousands of future deaths." – (HealthDay News, April 2009)
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