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Obama to Sign Landmark Tobacco Bill

U.S. President Barack Obama is set to sign an anti-smoking bill that will bring tobacco products under unprecedented federal control.

The president will sign the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act into law Monday (1800 UTC).

The bill, which passed in Congress earlier this month, gives the Food and Drug Administration the authority to reduce nicotine levels in tobacco products. The FDA will also be able to regulate tobacco marketing and advertising.

Mr. Obama praised lawmakers for approving the bill in a bipartisan fashion and said the new measures will protect the nation's children from the dangers of smoking. He said victory has been achieved, after a decade of opposition.

For years, supporters of tighter tobacco regulation encountered strong resistance from the powerful industry lobby.

President Obama, who has discussed his own struggles to stop smoking, has said that every day about 1,000 people under the age of 18 become regular smokers. He said Americans pay nearly $100 billion in added health care costs because of smoking.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday the president understands the struggle with tobacco facing millions of Americans.

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an estimated 443,000 people in the United States die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke every year. It says about 43 million Americans smoke cigarettes.

The World Health Organization says tobacco use is the world's leading preventable cause of death, killing some five million people each year.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.