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Tobacco Control Bill Heads to White House as Health Groups Cheer
Date:6/12/2009

Legislation to let FDA regulate tobacco manufacturing and marketing called long overdue

FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Legislation that gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulatory control over tobacco products headed to the White House Friday for President Obama's signature, as health organizations across the country cheered.

The bill was sent on its way after the House of Representatives rapidly endorsed the Senate's version of the bill, which was passed late Thursday. Obama quickly praised the bill, the Associated Press reported, saying it "will make history by giving the scientists and medical experts at the FDA the power to take sensible steps."

The bill authorizes the FDA to set levels for nicotine and other cigarette ingredients, requires tobacco makers to list the contents of their products, severely restricts advertising to a young audience, and gives the agency the authority to require stronger warnings on cigarette packaging.

After the House vote, FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said the agency, "welcomes the authority given to us by Congress to regulate tobacco products."

In a prepared statement, she added, "Because smoking and chewing tobacco cause serious public health problems, we view our new responsibilities as a logical extension of our public health mission to protect and to advance the health of Americans."

Numerous health agencies joined the chorus after the Senate vote Thursday to applaud a measure that has been a decade in the making.

The legislation "will finally put an end to Big Tobacco's despicable marketing practices that are designed to addict children to its deadly products," said John R. Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

"Senate passage of the 'Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act' has the potential to reduce the scourge of tobacco products, which kill more than 400,000
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