House Republicans have sidetracked legislation to curtail teen smoking at least until September, according to congressional officials, amid internal debate over whether to abandon the measure entirely.

As recently as two weeks ago, Speaker Newt Gingrich told reporters an anti-smoking bill would be passed by the time lawmakers recess Aug. 5 for a month-long break. Key lawmakers were close to agreement on proposed legislation.But officials said that by last week, an increasing number of Republicans had become persuaded that the issue had effectively died in the Senate earlier this year and was rapidly diminishing as an election-year concern among voters.