WASHINGTON – As expected, the House of Representatives on Friday strongly endorsed new, extensive legislation to regulate tobacco.
The 307-97 House vote to back a Senate version of the bill seals a legislative battle that has stretched over a decade.
The Food and Drug Administration will begin regulating tobacco products with sweeping new powers that will affect everything from cigarette content to marketing. President Barack Obama is expected to quickly sign it into law.
Under the bill, the addictive chemical of nicotine could be drastically reduced, though not eliminated. The FDA could alter other chemical content, potentially changing both the taste and potentially the health impacts of tobacco.
Warnings would cover at least half of tobacco packages. Advertising would be restricted to black-and-white. No tobacco product could be marketed as “reduced risk” without extensive scientific backup.
Candy-like tobacco lozenges and sweet-flavored products would be pulled off the market.
Health advocates overwhelmingly endorsed the legislation, saying it will save thousands of deaths from smoking-related diseases.