The Senate has voted to give the government extensive new powers to decide how tobacco companies will make and market their products. Supporters say that could spare millions from smoking addiction and premature death.
The legislation would for the first time give the Food and Drug Administration legal authority to regulate and order changes to tobacco products in the interest of public health. Thursday's vote was 79-17.
FDA authority over tobacco has long been a goal of anti-smoking advocates who say it could reduce an annual toll of 400,000 tobacco-related deaths. The House has passed its own similar version, and a resolution of differences would send it to President Barack Obama, who supports it.