Page last updated at 09:42 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 10:42 UK

US vote says cigarettes are drugs

A cigarette
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.

Industry funded

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.

Bloomberg and Gates fight smoking
23 Jul 08 |  Americas
Six firms fined in tobacco probe
11 Jul 08 |  Business
BMA urges tougher tobacco rules
06 Jul 08 |  Health

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific