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Obama signs tough tobacco regulations

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Obama signs tough tobacco regulations
U.S. President Barack Obama signs the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on June 22, 2009. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg) | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- New restrictions on tobacco and its marketing were signed into law Monday by U.S. President Barack Obama, who said they were "decades in the making."

Among other things, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act grants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate cigarette ingredients, ban the marketing of "light cigarettes" and require graphic warning labels. The bill also requires tobacco companies to disclose detailed information about their products' ingredients, including graphic photos, and allow the FDA to require changes to protect public health.

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"This legislation will not ban all tobacco products and it will allow adults to make their own choices," he said during the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden, "but it will also ban tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds," and bar some flavor enhancements.

"(The) legislation I'm signing (Monday) represents change that's been decades in the making," Obama said. "Since at least the middle of the last century, we've known about the harmful and often deadly effects of tobacco products."

More than 1,000 people under the age of 18 become "new regular, daily smokers" every day, he said. "I know; I was one of these teenagers. And so I know how difficult it can be to break this habit when it's been with you for a long time."

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The measure passed overwhelmingly in both houses of Congress.

"It's a law that will reduce the number of American children who pick up a cigarette and become adult smokers." Obama said. "And most importantly, it is a law that will save American lives and make Americans healthier."

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