President Obama signs anti-smoking laws
22 Jun 2009
President Obama knows all too well how difficult it is to quit smoking, and today he addressed his struggle to kick the habit just before signing a law he hopes will help other people put out their cigarettes too.
"Each day, 1,000 young people under the age of 18 become new, regular, daily smokers, and almost 90 percent of all smokers began at or before their 18th birthday," Obama said today. "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."
The new tobacco law gives the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco in the same way the government regulates breakfast cereals and pharmaceuticals.
"This legislation is a victory for bipartisanship, and it was passed overwhelmingly in both houses of Congress," Obama said today. "It's a victory for health care reform, as it will reduce some of the billions we spend on tobacco-related health care costs in this country."
Public health organizations and many lawmakers, several of whom joined Obama today for the signing, have been fighting for regulation for nearly a decade in hopes of helping an estimated 45 million adult smokers in the United States to kick their habit.
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