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New Law Bans Sale of Weight-Loss Products

May 21, 2003 | AP

Gov. Jeb Bush signed a measure Wednesday banning the sale of the over-the-counter weight loss products to people under 18, even if they don't contain ephedra.

The bill had wide support among lawmakers because many diet pills contain the legal stimulant ephedra, which has been linked to deaths.

The bill's sponsor in the Florida Senate, Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, cited the death of Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Steve Bechler, who died of heatstroke after taking diet pills that contained ephedra.

Some critics of the stimulant have asked the federal Food and Drug Administration to ban it.

The new Florida law will prevent people under 18 from buying diet pills. A retail organization had concerns with the bill, saying it would slow down store clerks who must check the age of young customers buying products that may or may not contain ephedra.

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