WASHINGTON (AP) _ For more than 40 years, the Tobacco Institute was the industry's voice in the nation's capital.

But the institute plans to closes its doors today, a result of the settlement between states and cigarette makers reached last year.

``Of all the things that have been in Washington, what could be a more pronounced symbol of change than closing the Tobacco Institute?'' Scott Williams, an industry spokesman told The Washington Post.

Disbanding the institute had ``been on the list of things the industry can do in a tangible way to illustrate it is changing,'' he said.

Ending tobacco-related trade associations, such as the institute and the Council for Tobacco Research in New York, was among the conditions of the $206 billion deal between 46 states and the tobacco industry in 1998.