- The Washington Times
Monday, June 22, 2009

Citing his own smoking addiction he picked up as a youth, President Obama signed legislation Monday to give the Food and Drug Administration broad powers in stopping the way tobacco companies sell their products.

The law bans candy-, spice- or fruit-flavored cigarettes, requires tobacco companies to report on what’s in their products and forbids what the White House called “misleading” terms such as “light” or “mild.” The goal, the president said, is to try to reduce smoking, particularly by keeping children from starting.

“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,” Mr. Obama said.

The bill passed Congress last week with bipartisan support. Mr. Obama said it still “will allow adults to make their own choices” about tobacco use, but will put up tough barriers to marketing to children.

Mr. Obama said the law represents another instance of his administration and fellow Democrats taking on special interests, following bills targeting credit card companies, lenders that issue home loans and military supply companies.

The White House was coy about Mr. Obama’s own addiction.

Despite Mr. Obama signing the bill, his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said he had failed to check in with Mr. Obama recently on his habit.

“It’s a continual struggle,” he said of Mr. Obama’s habit.

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