The U.S. Senate passed legislation that would allow the the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the sale and distribution of tobacco products and prohibit misleading tobacco ads.
The Senate passed the bill, known as the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, by a vote of 79-17. The bill must now be reconciled with a separate but similar bill passed by the House of Representatives before President Obama can sign it into law.
â€œThis bill makes it harder for tobacco companies to addict our children, gives parents peace of mind, and will ultimately save lives,â€ said Sen. Chris Dodd in a released statement.
Altria Group, which owns the Philip Morris subsidiary and is the largest U.S. tobacco company, said the vote was â€œan important step forward on this legislation.â€
It said the regulatory structure and standards for the manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products â€œshould provide important benefits to adult consumers for many years to come.â€
â€œThe legislation passed today is not perfect,â€ Altria said.
The company said it has expressed First Amendment reservations about certain provisions in the bill â€œincluding those that could restrict a manufacturerâ€™s ability to communicate truthful information to adult consumers about tobacco products.â€