Tighter control over the US tobacco industry has been approved by Congress. A landmark bill that places cigarettes under the control of the Food and Drug Administration will now be signed into law by President Obama.
The legislation won approval in the Senate before being passed in the House of Representatives. Almost 20 percent of Americans smoke, and Obama himself has talked about his own battles to quit. He said: “For over a decade leaders of both parties have fought to prevent tobacco companies from marketing their products to children and provide the public with the information they need to understand what a dangerous habit this is. And after a decade of opposition, all of us are finally about to achieve the victory with this bill.” For the first time the Food and Drug Administration will inspect and monitor tobacco companies, many of whom opposed the new law. The agency will also have final say over new products and selling and marketing techniques. It is estimated tobacco kills about 440,000 Americans every year.