New Law Limits Sale of Diet Pills, Weight Loss Supplements To Minors

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NEW YORK — A new law that takes effect today will limit access to potentially harmful medication to minors.

Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Assemblymember Nily Rozic announced that their previously enacted legislation to ban the sale of over-the-counter diet pills and supplements for weight loss to children under 18, will take effect on April 22.

This first-in-the-nation law will protect children under 18 from the risks of over-the-counter diet pills and supplements for weight loss or muscle-building. It creates age verification guidelines for both retailers and delivery sellers and is intended to safeguard minors’ well-being by ensuring that they are not exposed to unhealthy weight control behaviors.

“I am very pleased that starting today young people in New York will be better protected from falling victim to dangerous, under-regulated diet pills and supplements that can lead to adverse health outcomes and eating disorders,” Mayer said. “As Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, I am dedicated to improving the lives of children across the state, and have felt disheartened seeing generations of young people suffer from dangerous short-term solutions as they struggle to meet unrealistic societal expectations. Today we take a significant step forward in protecting the health and wellness of young people.”

The lawmakers said dietary supplements are dangerously under-regulated, noting that studies have found dietary supplements are laced with unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients, illicit anabolic steroids, experimental and banned stimulants and other dangerous chemicals.

“Today, as this new law goes into effect, New York is taking a significant step forward in combating diet culture and advocating for its kids,” Rozic said. “We are sending a clear message that their safety and development are non-negotiable — these products pose far too many risks and it’s time to protect our youth from them.”

More than 1.7 million New Yorkers, roughly nine percent, will suffer from an eating disorder throughout their lifetime, according to state officials and research demonstrates that the use of these products may be a warning sign for the presence or risk of an eating disorder. Eating disorders cause immense harm to individuals, communities, and our state, costing the state more than $3.9 billion a year in direct medical care costs and lost productivity. Tragically, more than 10,000 lose their lives each year nationally as a direct result of an eating disorder.

“Senator Mayer, Assemblyperson Rozic, and Governor Hochul saw they had a choice: Let another year go by where sellers of these products continue to prey on New York’s most vulnerable children to make a buck or champion a commonsense measure to put the health and mental health of young people first,” Harvard STRIPED (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders) Director Dr. S. Bryn Austin said. “These courageous women put New York’s children first. Protecting young people from these predatory products is now the law of the land in New York, setting an inspiring example for lawmakers and youth advocates nationwide.”

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