New York bans the sale of diet pills and muscle builders to children

It is now illegal to sell weight loss and muscle building supplements to minors in New York, under a first-in-the-nation law that took effect this week.

Experts say lax federal regulation of dietary supplements has resulted in these products sometimes containing unapproved ingredients such as steroids and heavy metals, putting children at risk. The US Food and Drug Administration monitors the market, but does not test products before they are sold.

The law we drafted reflects the FDA’s lack of regulation and the industry’s lack of regulation, said Jensen Jose, a regulatory board member at the Center for Science in the Public Interest who worked on the legislation.

Massachusetts state lawmakers are considering a similar measure. California’s state house previously passed a ban on selling weight-loss supplements to minors that was vetoed by the governor, but lawmakers are considering a new version. A Colorado law ending the sale of diet pills to minors takes effect in July.

New York law allows the state to fine companies that sell pills or dietary supplements to children that are promoted as helping them build muscle or burn fat. Protein supplements and shakes are exempt unless they contain another ingredient for weight loss or muscle building.

While specific products are not banned, the law states that judges enforcing the measure could consider including ingredients such as creatine, green tea extract and raspberry ketone.

The bill’s creators point to studies that have found some supplements secretly contaminated with banned anabolic steroids and stimulants. That makes the products especially harmful for children, who are still growing, said Theresa Gentile, a registered nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

At Natural Body Astoria, a vitamin and supplement store in Queens, worker Nick Kubler said the company was already self-policing before the law arrived this week.

“We’ve never sold anything like that to kids anyway, but we’re definitely more aware now,” Kubler said.

Dhriti Rathod, a 17-year-old model and student at the New York Institute of Technology, said she is in favor of the restrictions.

People my age, they don’t study that kind of thing, they do it based on what they see online, Rathod said. They see that people have been using it, so they jump right in and start using it, but they don’t know the dangers.

But the new regulation has been met with pushback from the wider industry, with some retailers saying the definition of what can and cannot be sold to children is unclear.

The actual definition of what is illegal to sell to a minor is incredibly vague, said Lee Wright, chief executive of national chain The Vitamin Shoppe.

He says the company spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to implement the new rules. Their computer systems now display a pop-up screen when the type of products targeted by the law are being sold.

The law was also challenged by at least two lawsuits from industry groups who argued that it is too vague and that regulation is the responsibility of the FDA.

In one such lawsuit, a federal judge in Manhattan last Friday denied a motion by the Council for Responsible Nutrition to block the law from taking effect, finding it clearly intransigent and saying the organizations fear possible fines and revenue losses compared to states’ goal of protecting youth from unfettered access to dietary supplements.

FDA spokespeople did not respond to e-mails seeking comment.

State Sen. Shelley Mayer, a Democrat who sponsored the legislation, said implementation shouldn’t be that difficult for companies, as some already categorize their supplements for weight loss or weight loss. muscle building

It’s unclear how big online retailers like Amazon will make sure they don’t send the supplements to minors in the Empire State. The company did not respond to a request for comment. Some products in The Vitamin Shoppes online store note that New York shoppers will be required to present ID upon delivery.

Maxim Abramciuc, an 18-year-old who has used muscle building supplements in the past, said that while he understands the restriction, he doesn’t fully agree with it.

They should be able to buy some of these products, he said as he browsed a vitamin and supplement store in Albany. If it has few side effects, why shouldn’t children take it?

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