New York State Legislature Passes Senator Shelley B. Mayer and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic’s Bill to Limit Sale of Diet Pills and Supplements to Children (S.5823C/A.5610D)

Senator Shelley B. Mayer

June 7, 2023

(ALBANY, NY) - Senator Shelley Mayer and Assemblymember Nily Rozic announced that their bill to ban the sale of over-the-counter diet pills and supplements for weight loss to children under 18 passed the Senate on June 5 after passing the Assembly on June 1. 

S.5823C/A.5610D will protect children under 18 from the risks of over-the-counter diet pills and supplements for weight loss or muscle building. Dietary supplements are dangerously under-regulated. Studies have found these products are laced with unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients, illicit anabolic steroids,  experimental and banned stimulants, and other dangerous chemicals. And research demonstrates that 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 nine 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 $3.9B 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. 

The bill 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.

Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “For decades, we have seen young people struggle with eating disorders and the pressure to meet unrealistic societal expectations. As teens and young adults join social media at younger ages, we must do more to protect them. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, I am committed to improving children’s health and well-being by addressing the serious threat of eating disorders and adverse health outcomes due to the use of these products. I am pleased that today we have taken this important step to protect the health and wellness of young people.”

“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 and teens from products that not only exacerbate negative self-image but also have detrimental effects on the growing body,” said Assemblywoman Rozic. “The marketing of such harmful products has serious physical and mental health consequences. This bill is an important measure in combating diet culture and ensuring the safety of young consumers.” 

Pari Patel, of the STRIPED Youth Corps, said, “This legislation is more than just a milestone with its great progress; it is a shared vision that has been in my heart and the hearts of fellow advocates. It brings us closer to a New York where youth can protect their young minds from the dangerous grip diet pills and muscle-building supplements seem to have. Personally, as an advocate, this bill serves as a reminder that our voices have the power to drive meaningful change, instilling in me an even stronger determination to continue fighting for the well-being of our youth. We will continue our fight for what is right until the bill is signed into law.”

Ryan Ahmed, STRIPED Trainee, said, “I am a college student in New York who has seen eating disorders and body dysmorphia play a detrimental role in our classrooms, in the sporting fields, and in household settings. Over-the-counter diet pills and muscle-building supplements are filled in isles, as there are seas of options, products, companies, and sales representatives. It is so easy for a child to buy these products in large amounts at their closest GNC or local market without parental supervision. A common scary question amongst young people in these stores in NY is: ‘What’s the strongest supplement you got?’ The underregulated supplements industry is marketing towards all youth members, so when thinking about Senator Mayer’s bill S5823C, it can help protect your own children, your younger cousins, and your nephews and nieces.”