Washington, Jun 23: While President Barack Obama continues to struggle with his addiction to cigarettes; he has signed the tobacco regulation measure into law for the cause of health care reform.
Calling it 'a victory for bipartisanship' and 'a victory for health care reform', President Obama signed the law during a Rose Garden ceremony attended by anti-smoking groups and members of Congress.
Obama used the stage at the signing ceremony to argue that his administration's governing philosophy of getting things done without the influence of special interests is working.
"When I ran for president, I did so because I believed that, despite the power of the status quo and the influence of special interests, it was possible for us to bring change to Washington. And the progress we've made these past five months has only reinforced my faith in this belief," Obama said.
The president held up the tobacco bill, which has been stalled in Congress since 1994, as "a step that will save lives and dollars."
He pointed to it, as well as credit card reform, mortgage reform and defense procurement reform, as laws enacted against the wishes of powerful special interests, Politico reports.
"Today, change has come to Washington," Obama said. "Our journey for change is far from over, but with the package - passage of the kids tobacco legislation that I'm about to sign, we're taking another big and very important step, a step that will save lives and dollars."
The bill, called the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, gives the US Food and Drug Administration unprecedented powers to regulate tobacco.
Under the law, the FDA will be able to prohibit cigarette advertising, specifically those that target children, and ban flavored cigarettes and labels such as 'low tar' and 'light'.
Obama went on to blast tobacco companies for aggressively targeting young people in "a constant and insidious barrage of advertising where they live, where they learn, and where they play."
Shortly after the bill signing, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs conceded that Obama's addiction to cigarettes is "something he continues to struggle with."