U.S. Senate passes bill giving FDA tobacco authority..

June 11, 2008 - approximately 3pm EDT The U.S. Senate on Thursday, June 11th backed a plan giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration power to regulate cigarettes and other tobacco products, allowing the agency to curb advertisements, require stronger package warnings and inspect manufacturers.

Supporters said the bill, which passed in a bipartisan 79-17 vote, would help rein in the tobacco industry and curb smoking, especially among teenagers and children. The only Democrat voting against the bill was Senator Kay Hagen of North Carolina, said Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO).

S. 982—The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act..

A similar measure has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said earlier on Thursday she wanted to look closely at the Senate's bill. "But from what I have seen so far, I believe it will be possible for us to accept their bill and send it right on to the president."

President Barack Obama, who has discussed his own struggles to quit smoking, is expected to sign the bill into law.

Under the Senate plan, industry user fees would fund a new FDA tobacco division to inspect manufacturers as well as set certain cigarette standards. The bill also restricts vending machine sales and curbs advertising targeting youth.

Comments from some senators that sponsored the legislation.

Reference: U.S. Senate passes bill giving FDA tobacco authority reporting by Susan Heavey and Richard Cowan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Reuters, 6/11/2009.