The effort, spearheaded by Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., in the Senate and Calif. Democrat Henry Waxman in the House, would give the FDA the power to decide how cigarettes are advertised and authority to monitor how they're promoted to youth. It would not have the power to ban cigarettes and nicotine outright.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 440,000 people die prematurely from smoking each year, with an estimated 49,000 of those deaths due to secondhand smoke exposure.
"This legislation provides a tremendous opportunity to finally hold tobacco companies accountable and restrict efforts to addict more children and adults," American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement. "It has been a long and challenging process to move the bill through Congress but the determination of many concerned parents and supporters has never wavered. The Senate vote is a significant victory for all Americans as we try to reduce the devastating toll tobacco use has inflicted on our communities."