President Obama pledges to sign tobacco bill

In remarks from the White House lawn June 12 President Obama welcomed the passage of a bill in Congress this week that will impose strong regulations on tobacco products, and he signaled his intention to sign the bill into law.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will authorize the Food and Drug Administration to measure and restrict the harmful chemical components in tobacco and cigarette smoke. Tobacco-state Republican lawmakers blocked a similar bill in 1998.

In his statement, President Obama said, ‘This bill has obviously been a long time coming. We’ve known for years, even decades, about the harmful, addictive, and often deadly effects of tobacco products.’

The president pointed out that efforts to regulate tobacco have long been a bipartisan collaboration. ‘And after a decade of opposition, all of us are finally about to achieve the victory with this bill, a bill that truly defines change in Washington,’ he added.

‘This kids tobacco bill would be the fourth piece of bipartisan legislation that I’ve signed into law over the last month that protects the American consumer, and changes the way Washington works and who Washington works for,’ the president further explained.

For what appears to be significant legislative record for the president in just five short months in office, Obama gave credit to members of his staff. ‘I want to give a special shout-out to my legislative director, Phil Schiliro. He and his team have just done an outstanding job. They’ve been working on this for a long time, even before they joined the administration. I’m really proud of them,’ he concluded.

Rep. Stephen Buyer, R-Ind., one of few Republicans who opposed the tobacco regulation bill, labeled it ‘tobacco socialism’ and insisted that the private market should have been left alone to make tobacco products safer. He failed, however, to name a single tobacco product that has not been linked to serious illnesses like cancer. Tobacco products have been on ‘the market’ for centuries.