On Friday, the House passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a bill giving the FDA authority over tobacco regulation, just one day after the Senate approved the bill by a 79 to 17 vote, the Associated Press reported.
The House approved the bill by 307 to 97 and it now heads to President Obama who has indicated he intends to sign it.
Opposition in the House came from Republicans who expressed concerned about government intrusion in private enterprise and tobacco state lawmakers. Rep. Howard Coble, a Republican, said people in his state of North Carolina believed “allowing the FDA to regulate tobacco in any capacity would lead to the FDA regulating the family farm,” the Associated Press reported.
The legislation’s goal is to reduce deaths linked to smoking and decrease the annual $100 billion health care cost for tobacco-related illnesses.
The passage of this legislation ends a struggle dating back to 1996, when the FDA attempted to regulate tobacco products to discourage smoking by minors. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the agency did not have the authority to control tobacco products.