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Tobacco Compliance Checks Part Of I-PLEDGE Program

By Staff | Nov 1, 2016

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office has taken a pledge to keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of area youth

Known as I-PLEDGE, the program is a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division (ABD) to education local retailers and to enforce Iowa’s tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product laws. Due to a change in Iowa law, alternative nicotine and vapor products are now considered age-restricted products and will be part of the I-PLEDGE?program’s compliance initiatives this year.

Since the program’s inception in 2000, the statewide tobacco compliance rate has grown to 93 percent. By participating in this program, the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office has committed to do its part to increase the compliance rate even more this year.

I-PLEDGE places emphasis on retailer training. Clerks who successfully complete an online training course and then pass an exam will become I-PLEDGE certified. This allows a retail establishment to use an affirm-action defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale.

Although not required to retake the training if currently certified, ABD?encourages clerks to repeat the training after October 3rd, in order to familiarize themselves with the newly age-restricted products.

“I-PLEDGE’s retailer training is a great way for clerks to prepare themselves to refuse illegal tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor product sales,” noted Sheriff Lynn Schultes. “The training also assists retailers to ensure they maintain a compliant and responsible establishment.”

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office recently conducted compliance checks on local establishments as part of the I-PLEDGE program. An underage customer, under the supervision of law enforcement officials, entered establishments and attempted to buy tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products.

“I am happy to report that no retailer in our compliance checks sold tobacco products to our underage customer,” Palo Alto County Sheriff Lymm Schutles reported.

A clerk who would have made the illegal sale would have been cited on the spot. Criminal penalties for selling tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products to a minor include a $100 fine for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense and $500 find for third and subsequent offenses. However, handing out citations is not the intent of the I-PLEDGE?program.

“By partnering with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, we hope to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in our community,” Sheriff Schultes said. “Moreover, we pledge to help keep tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products out of the hands of Iowa’s youth.”

Schultes concluded, “I wish to thank the retailers and their staffs for taking an interest in the health of our youth. Complying with tobacco regulations is a huge step in a healthy lifestyle. Congratulations to all the retailers and your staff, please keep up the good work!”

To take the I-PLEDGE training or search certification records go to:

www.iowaabd.com