WASHINGTON (CNN) – A bill that increases the power of the federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products cleared the Senate on Thursday.
The Senate voted 79-17 for the measure, which is similar to a bill already passed by the House of Representatives.
An aide to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said the chamber will vote Friday on accepting the Senate bill, which would send the measure to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Most Senate opposition came from tobacco-producing states including Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. In a break from
tradition, the two senators from Virginia - another tobacco state - supported the measure, indicating a moderate shift in the state's politics.
The tobacco bill would allow the FDA to ban some tobacco products, limit the amount of nicotine in tobacco products and enlarge warning labels.
A White House statement quoted Obama as calling the measure historic for "giving the scientists and medical experts at the FDA the power to take sensible steps that will reduce tobacco's harmful effects and prevent tobacco companies from marketing their products to children."
The statement said Obama looks forward to signing the bill.
– CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this story