Senator Mayer and Assemblywoman Rozic’s First-In-The-Nation Bill to Limit Sale of Diet Pills and Supplements to Children Approved by Governor Hochul

Senator Shelley Mayer

October 26, 2023

New Law Will Protect Minors From Harmful, Under-Regulated Supplements

(New York, NY) – Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a bill sponsored by Senator Shelley Mayer and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic that will ban the sale of over-the-counter diet pills and supplements for weight loss and muscle building to minors (S.5823C/A.5610D). This first-in-the-nation law will curb access to under-regulated products that contain harmful ingredients and hurt youth development. It creates age verification guidelines for both retailers and delivery sellers while safeguarding kids’ well-being by ensuring that they are not exposed to unhealthy weight control behaviors. 

Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am pleased New York is taking action to protect young people from falling victim to dangerous, under-regulated diet pills that can lead to adverse health outcomes and eating disorders. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, I am committed to protecting and improving the health and well-being of young people. It is disheartening to see generations of young adults struggling to meet unrealistic societal expectations, leading them to trying short term, dangerous solutions. I thank my colleague, Assemblymember Nily Rozic for championing this legislation in the Assembly and Governor Kathy Hochul for signing it into law.” 

“Diet pills, weight loss, and muscle-building supplements are often marketed as quick fixes for insecurities. It is our responsibility to protect vulnerable and impressionable kids from harmful products that have serious physical and mental health consequences,” said Assemblywoman Nily Rozic. “This new law is an important measure in combating diet culture and ensuring the safety of New York’s youngest consumers. I thank Senator Mayer for her partnership in the State Senate and Governor Hochul for signing it into law.” 

Dietary supplements are dangerously under-regulated. Studies have found these products are laced with unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients, illicit anabolic steroidsexperimental and banned stimulants, and other dangerous chemicals. Research often demonstrates that the use of these products may be a warning sign for the presence or risk of an eating disorder. Young people who take over-the-counter diet pills are more likely to develop an eating disorder than those who do not. 

More than 1.7 million, or 9 percent of New Yorkers, will suffer from an eating disorder throughout their lifetime. 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. 

Jensen Jose, Regulatory Counsel at Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), said, “For far too long, dangerous weight-loss and muscle-building supplements have preyed on children’s insecurities with unproven claims. Now, New York can finally protect children from these dangerous supplements.”

Dr. S. Bryn Austin, STRIPED Director, said,“We have known for years how unscrupulous companies selling sham over-the-counter diet pills and muscle-building supplements have been deceiving teens with their false promises and profiting from their body insecurities and mental health struggles. The evidence is incontrovertible that these products are a dangerous threat to child health, yet few lawmakers have been willing to take action. But today the tides have changed: The stalwart leadership of Assemblyperson Rozic, Senator Mayer, and Governor Hochul, along with the tireless advocacy of New York youth and community advocates, has made New York the first state in the nation to put kids’ health before profits and put an end to the sale of these predatory products to children.” 

The new law focuses on the marketing and advertising of over-the-counter diet pills and muscle-building supplements to minors by establishing age verification guidelines for retailers and delivery sellers.