About one in five adults in the US still smokes
The US House of Representatives has voted to treat tobacco as a drug and have it regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The bill would tighten restrictions on advertising, impose new penalties for selling to children and require all new products to be approved by the FDA.
But the White House threatened to veto the bill, saying it would put an enormous burden on the FDA.
It also said having FDA approval could make people think cigarettes are safe.
The bill cleared the House with a 326 to 102 vote, as 96 Republicans ignored the president's position and voted in favour of the bill.
The programme would be funded by levying millions of dollars in fees from the tobacco industry.
Senator Edward Kennedy hopes to get the legislation before the Senate by the end of the year.
Representative Henry Waxman has been trying to get the House to pass tobacco regulation legislation for more than a decade.
"This is truly a historic day in the fight against tobacco," he said.