The senate on Thursday approved the tobacco regulation bill giving the federal government power to regulate manufacture and distribution of cigarettes.

Senators voted 79-17 in favor of tobacco regulation. This will go to President Obama who will sign it into law.

Obama's signature would then add tobacco to other huge, nationally important areas that have come under greater government supervision since his presidency began. Those include banking, housing and autos. Still to come, if Congress can agree: health care.

According to the bill, the F.D.A. will have power to evaluate the contents of tobacco products and to order changes or bans on those that are a danger to public health.

The agency could also limit nicotine yields but not ban nicotine or cigarettes.