WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House overwhelmingly passed today the Family Smoking and Prevention Act, which sailed through the Senate Thursday.
The final vote was 307 to 97. All of Minnesota’s delegation voted for the legislation except for Rep. Michele Bachmann. Rep. John Kline did not vote because he was attending a close friend’s funeral, according to Kline’s office. Kline had voted against a previous version of the bill.
The bipartisan measure would allow the Food and Drug Administration to ban the most harmful chemicals in tobacco products and reduce the amount of nicotine. The legislation also requires the tobacco industry to disclose ingredients, expand the size of warning labels and to include images of the health effects of tobacco.
Rep. Jim Oberstar, in comments from the House floor on Friday, said that the bill’s passage was decades overdue.
“It is way long past time, many millions of deaths later, for this Congress to act, act decisively, in the public interest.” Oberstar said.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law next week.
“We’ve known for years, even decades, about the harmful, addictive, and often deadly effects of tobacco products,” Obama said in comments made today from the Rose Garden. “Each year Americans pay nearly $100 billion in added health care costs due to smoking. Each day about a thousand young people under the age of 18 become regular smokers.
“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, a bill that truly defines change in Washington.”